April 23, 2007

The Haunting Tones of the Open Source Theremin

The Haunting Tones of the Open Source Theremin

In case anyone was wondering, this is what my theremin sounds like. The part that sounds like the theme music to Sonic the Hedgehog is the “discrete mode,” which chops up the theremin’s stream of sound into separate notes.

Click to Listen to Sam Playing his Junior Theremin (25 seconds MP3)

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  • VeritasRox

    That. Was. Awesome. The theremin rules!

  • Marsall Root

    I was facinated by your show introducing the theremin. Being a musician myself, I never heard of a theremin before. Coincidentally, I had just picked up an LP record at a local record shop called, The Fantasy Film World Of Bernard Herrmann, on the London label issued in 1974. (it was a favorite of mine years ago). Bernard Herrmann incorporated two theremins in the soundtrack he did for the movie, The Day The Earth Stood Still. From the liner notes he comments: “My goal here was to charactorize a man from another world, and the music had to reflect an unearthly feeling of outer space without relying on gimmicks.” On his soundtract, Journey To The Center Of The Earth, he used an “obsolete” medeival instrument called a serpent, which he says has been dropped from contemporary orchestras. does anyone know what a serpent instrument is?

  • bft

    It’s a wind instrument with a tube curved back and forth several times. I’ve seen one being played in a period-instrument ensemble, and heard it, sort of a raspy low-pitched tone. I couldn’t have told you from memory what kind of mouthpiece it had, reed or otherwise, but I looked it up: Wikipedia has an article with a picture and description. It seems to be a sort of wooden tuba.

  • bft

    As for the sound I remember, I don’t know—I may have gotten the serpent mixed up with the krummhorn!

  • dangr

    You should be proud of your skills.

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