DIY: The Physics of the Theremin (one of the first electric instruments)


“In Leningrad, Leon Theremin (actually¬†Lev Termen) built and demonstrated his Etherophone, which was later renamed the Theremin. This led to the first compositions for electronic instruments, as opposed to noisemakers and re-purposed machines. The Theremin was notable for being the first musical instrument played without touching it.” – Wiki Electronic Musical Instrument
Moog Etherwave Theremin Kit

Moog Etherwave Theremin Kit

“The theremin is distinguished among musical instruments in that it is played without physical contact. The thereminist stands in front of the instrument and moves his or her hands in the proximity of two metal antennae. The distance from one antenna determines frequency (pitch), and the distance from the other controls amplitude (volume). Higher notes are played by moving the hand closer to the pitch antenna. Louder notes are played by moving the hand away from the volume antenna. Most frequently, the right hand controls the pitch and the left controls the volume, although some performers reverse this arrangement. Some low-cost theremins use a conventional, knob operated volume control and have only the pitch antenna. While commonly called antennae, they are not used for receiving or broadcasting radio waves, but act as plates of capacitors.” – Wiki Theremin

Watch the Video Explanation of the Physics behind the Theremin

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Author: Joshua Casper

Joshua Casper is an Artist, Musician, and Blogger.

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