The Theremin


What is a Theremin?

The Theremin is an early electronic musical instrument (patented in 1921), which is played by moving your hands within the space of two electromagnetic fields generated around a pair of antennas. In other words, you play it by waving your hands in the air. Here's a short movie about it from the BBC (please note that they mention "70 years" several times, which is in error):

Its etherial sound was heard in major films such as Spellbound, The Lost Weekend, and The Day The Earth Stood Still. Here's Dr. Sam Hoffman, the man who actually played the Theremin in all those films, with his instrument:

Where do I get one?

Theremins are available through many fine musical instrument shops and dealers. You may wish to support local business by purchasing from a shop in your area. Or, you can buy direct from the manufacturer in many instances. Regardless, make sure to check out my list of Theremin Makers and Models.

You may wish to read about how to shop online before buying, to help you get a better price.

You'll also need to need to learn how to play.

Where can I hear one?

You've almost certainly already heard one in many prominent movies which featured the Theremin in their soundtracks.

Read about some prominent thereminists and their work.

Tom and the Theremin

I have a theremin, but I'm not yet any good at playing it, as it's the world's most difficult musical instrument. (I'm not kidding about that.) I do make occasional appearances with my instrument in which I give a brief talk (about 20 minutes) about its history and use, answer questions, and allow the audience to come forward and toy with my Theremin. I do not perform on it in public at this time. If you'd like to discuss the possibility of arranging for me to bring my theremin to your nonprofit group's meeting, public school class, or science fiction club, please contact me and I'll be happy to discuss it.

My theremin has been signed and/or played by many prominent figures of the Science Fiction world, which makes it unique and very special to me.

You can see photos of my theremin at science fiction conventions, including one really awful shot of me.

Other Resources

Theremin World is an excellent public resource about Theremins, and is home of the RCA Theremin registry. It also offers: Elsewhere:  
This space available free of charge to advertise a worthy Theremin related event or charity.

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