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Electronic Music: Theremin

Information, links, and research resources relating to Electronic & Computer Music


photograph of Theremin


"A monophonic electronic instrument invented by Lev Termen in or before 1927. Pitch is controlled by the capacitance between the right hand and an antenna, originally a vertical metal rod, and volume and tone by moving the left hand in relation to a horizontal metal loop. On later transistorized instruments each antenna is replaced by a plaque on a flat surface. As with a flexatone or saw, glissandos are inevitable, but the theremin's sound and expressive qualities have fascinated many musicians."

- Oxford Music Online

Theremin Links

Theremin Demo

Samuel Hoffman (Spellbound, The Day the Earth Stood Still) demonstrates the theremin on the "You Asked For It" show in 1953.

Theremin Performance

Caroline Eyck plays the theremin in Bohuslav Martinů's Fantasie along with the Keller Quartet, Heinz Holliger (oboe), and Robert Kolinsky (piano).

Johnny Quazar and the Swingbots

Multimedia Librarian

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Christine Adams
Christine Adams, MLS
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William F. Maag Jr. Library
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