Sleight of Hand

Interested in playing an instrument but are not so musically talented? Ever think you could play one without even having to touch it? What if I told you it was first used in 1919? Introducing the theremin. Created by Russian scientist Leon Theremin, this instrument is meant to be played without being touched. Patented in 1927, the theremin found its home producing eerie sound effects for movies and musical composers. Its two major components are comprised of an upright antenna controlling pitch and a metal loop for volume. Together these antennas create an electromagnetic field. To play, the musician stands so that the pitch antenna is to their right and the volume is to their left. The closer your hand is to the upright antenna and metal loop will raise the pitch but lower the volume. Alternatively, moving it further away lowers the pitch and raises the volume respectively. Popular songs that have used the theremin are “Good Vibrations” by the Beach Boys and “Please Go Home” by the Rolling Stones.


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