Leon Theremin Demonstrating his
The First Electronic Musical Instrument
a Russian physicist named Lev Termen (his name was later changed to Leon
Theremin) in 1919, the theremin is the world’s first electronic musical
Eyeing a potential new market, RCA built 500 of then in 1929—but the
instrument proved very difficult to play and was discontinued. Today only a
looking like no other instrument, the theremin is unique in that it is
played without being touched. Two antennae protrude from the theremin - one
controlling pitch, and the other controlling volume. As a hand approaches
the vertical antenna, the pitch gets higher. Approaching the horizontal
antenna makes the volume softer.
Because there is no physical contact with the instrument, playing the
theremin requires precise skill and perfect pitch.
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