Leon Theremin Inventor Of A Musical Instrument That Requires No Human Touch
The “Theremin” is an early electronic musical instrument controlled without any physical contact from the player. It is named after its Russian inventor, Professor Leon Theremin who patented the device in 1928. The controlling section usually consists of two metal antennas which sense the position of the player’s hands and control pitch with one hand, and volume with the other, so it can be played without being touched. The electric signals from the theremin are amplified and sent to a speaker.
The Theremin reached it’s peak in the thirties and forties. In the sixties psychedelic bands, and religious cults, used the Theremin heavily during a brief resurgence. Even Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys used a Theremin in the recording of “Good Vibrations”. Record exec’s fought with Wilson over the use of such “weird” music, and refused to publish it, using the excuse “the song was too long”. Wilson however won the battle, and the song went to number one. in America. More recently, Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin started using the Theremin heavily in their live gigs.
The Theremin is still in limited use today by dedicated followers, and musicians.