Theremin turns 100: Key Facts

The Theremin musical instrument has turned hundred years old in 2020. It has revolutionised the music industry by being the predecessor of the modern synthesizer.

What is Theremin?

Theremin is a musical instrument. It is considered as the world’s first electronic instrument and it turned 100 years old in 2020. It was developed by Leon Theremin. It generates sound by modulation of electromagnetic waves and this is done without the player having to even touch the instrument. It has a vertical antenna for controlling the tone and a looped antenna for controlling the volume.

How was Theremin discovered?

Leon Theremin was a scientist during the period when radio waves was still a new phenomenon in technology. While he was experimenting with radio waves in his laboratory, he discovered that operators working on radio waves made strange sounds when he moved his hands around it. Being a classical musician and trained in Cello the sounds stimulated his interests. He then realised that he has created a new musical instrument that played without touching. This was the first electronic instrument in the world and was called Theremin.  The instrument turned hundred years old in 2020. The invention of the instrument revolutionized music. It has its history tied to the prisons of Siberia, world war and Hollywood films of 20th century.

How is Theremin played?

It has a vertical antenna and a loop antenna. The musicians modulate the electromagnetic field in the instrument by moving their hands and fingers around the space. When the musician move around the vertical antenna he can increase or decrease the tone. When he moves around the loop antenna, he can control the volume.

About Leon Theremin

Leon Theremin is credited to variety of discoveries from early drum machines to US airplanes. He is also known for inventing a bugging device that was placed in the office of US ambassador to the Soviet Union and was uncovered only after 7 years.




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  • Vitas

    / Good content thank you