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Monday Morning Music: Theremin Crazy

September 29, 2008

What’s a theremin?  Sure, it may sound like a vitamin-enriched hot drink for flu relief, but it’s actually a rather futuristic musical instrument invented by a Russian of the same name.  It has the distinction of being the only musical instrument that is played without being touched: the performer moves his or her hands within an RF field, which feeds back to the instrument as an astonishing range of sound.  Here’s a thereminist playing Gnarls Barkley’s “Crazy”.  Watch how the performer moves his hands:

If you have heard the original vocals it’s almost impossible to hear this version without being struck by the resemblance to a particular human voice.

I’ve often wondered, if you showed the outre video of the original song to an audience back in, say, 1920, what would they make of it?  How much of the virtue we find in a given work of art is universal, and how much contextual?
(HT Lucas, who finds the damndest things)

Categories: music, Reviews
  1. September 29, 2008 at 15:40 | #1

    When I think of the theremin, it always reminds me of Forbidden Planet.

  2. September 30, 2008 at 02:15 | #2

    Hang a theremin around the competitors’ necks and find out who can REALLY play air guitar ;-)

  3. September 30, 2008 at 06:24 | #3

    Wasn’t a theremin played on “Good Vibrations?”

  4. October 1, 2008 at 19:08 | #4

    Absolutely fascinating.

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