Featuring homemade electronic gadgets, the latest in development boards (Arduino, BeagleBoard, Raspberry Pi, etc), examples of cool design, and the latest and greatest (and most shiny) consumer gadgets.

Theremin music to our ears

Today’s blog is dedicated to that rare and sometimes misunderstood creature that is the theremin. For those of you that don’t know, the theremin is one of the earliest fully electronic musical instruments, created by Russian Gadget Master and physicist Lev Sergeivich Termin (also known as the very fascinating chap Leon Theremin, who also invented the naughty listening ‘bug’, used to secretly hear conversations between people) in 1919. It consists of two radio frequency oscillators and two metal antennae.

The electric signals from the theremin are amplified and sent to a loudspeaker. After positive reviews from the Russian electronics engineering community, Theremin was granted an audience with Lenin, who was not only impressed with this new invention, but insisted on taking lessons to learn how to play it, ordered hundreds to be churned out and commissioned the inventor to travel the world to boast about the might of Soviet genius and technology.

As other instruments came along that were easier to play, the theremin fell out of favour for most of the Twentieth Century but it is now undergoing something of a revival and we are shamelessly jumping on the theremin bandwagon and actually urge more people to learn how to play it and bring it back from the brink of extinction.

We are bringing the poor instrument back into vogue by presenting the theremin circuit schematic and build instructions. And we couldn’t leave without dropping this video in. One of the theremin’s biggest contemporary fans happens to be the electro-pop geniuses Goldfrapp.

For Alison Goldfrapp’s very creative use of a theremin, watch the video below.

Tags: electronic music, Theremin

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1 Comment

  1. John Bebb
    November 25, 2009 16:41

    Dear Sir / Madam – your hyperlink “theremin circuit schematic and build instructions” is erroneous – please supply a working link, thank you.