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Music Term: Theremin

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A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z 1-9

Theremin


Definition and background:

Invented by Leo Theremin in the 1920's, this instrument generates electronic pitches. The pitchs and volume are controled by the proximity of the player's hands to metal protrusions associated with each. Thus, moving the hands closer to or farther away from the pitch protrusion will result in a higher or lower pitch and moving the hands closer to or farther away from the volume protrusion will result in a louder or softer volume. The somewhat eerie quality of the theremin can be heard in many movie soundtracks in the sci-fi and horror genre in the 1940's, 1950's, and 1960's. See also Electrophone. an electronic instrument invented by Leon Theremin, a scientist of French origin who lived and worked in Russia, has the original feature of being played without the performer touching it. Frequencies and dynamics are controlled by the movement of the player's hands in the air, with pitch varying according to the distance of the right hand from an antenna and dynamics varying by the similar use of the left hand.


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