Don't  touch me

and let me sing

The design of the BIG BRIAR THEREMIN MODEL 91C is wonderful.

The theremin is one of the oldest electric instruments, invented in 1930 by Leon Theremin. Its distinctive sound (virtual female voice or cello-like sample) is instandly recognisable. The theremin sound is very popularised: 'Good Vibrations' from the Beach Boys, Led Zeppelin's 'Whole Lotta Love', film soundtracks like 'The Day The Earth Stood Still', etc.

However, real ones are hard to find, and even harder to play.

Much soundmovies fake the play of a theremin using e.g. the vintage synthesizer Roland SH101. You hold down the appropriate note on the keyboard while you use the other to adjuyst the pitch wheel. You need two hands. The inventor Leon Theremin is here playing his "Thereminvox" (first edition 1930).

Excellent article about faking the theremin on a (analogue) synthesizer is written by Sam Inglis: Handwaving Exercise:Reproducing theremin sounds using a synthesizer in: Sound on Sound Magazine (UK), June 1999, p.162 - 164.

How does the theremin originally work?

The inventor Leon Theremin is here playing his "Thereminvox" (first edition 1930).
With the vertical aerial you play the melody and with the horizontal one you control the volume. The hand that isn't employed in controlling the pitch of the sound , is used to control its volume, in a similar way. This means that, when the pitch glides between notes, the volume should swell and die depending on the player's hand movements.

Clara Rockmore was Leon Theremin 's greatest protégée, performing the Theremin.
I bought the wonderful CD: The Art of the Theremin (Delos, D/CD 1014) (1987). A few years ago the Theremin's story is filmed: Theremin: An Electronic Odyssey.


Bob MOOG (USA) released the actual ETHERWAVE Theremin. Go to his website: www.nashville.net/~theremin; or contact Bob Moogs business on fax: +1 704-254-6233; e-mail:bigbriar@aol.com.


The most prominent British manufacturer of theremins is LONGWAVE INSTRUMENTS: his range of theremins includes the highly portable POCKET model.


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