The Theremin: Magical Music!

As I mentioned in my previous post, I’ve been watching Midsomer Murders quite obsessively these past few weeks. When I say obsessive, what I mean is, I’ve watched all the little extras they include…cast biographies, ‘The Making Of…’ documentaries, cast interviews, even maps of the fictional County, several times over! You know – all the stuff that you wouldn’t watch unless you were a die-hard fan or just plain loony 😛 Me, I’m both 😀

That’s how I stumbled upon the Theremin, an amazing musical instrument that one plays without ever touching it with your hands! To a musical novice like me (I don’t play any instrument, unless vocal chords are counted ;-)) that just seemed…fascinating! I had to know more! I love the title music of the Series and have always wondered how that eerily haunting tune was made. I always assumed it was a human voice, some opera singer perhaps? Now, thanks to Wikipedia and Youtube, I know otherwise!

The Theremin! I for one would never have thought it was a musical box 🙂

The Theremin is named after its Russian inventor, Professor Léon Theremin, who patented the device in 1928, the year my Grandma was born! Wonder if that has anything to do with the pitch of her voice 😉 The player moves his hands in front of two metal antennas (the main part of the instrument), that sense their position. The instrument produces a single note whose pitch is controlled by the player’s right hand & volume with the left. The electric signals from the Theremin are amplified and sent to a loudspeaker. I’m still not sure how all this works, except I gather there’s physics involved, which I confess was never a favorite subject of mine! All I know is what I see, a musician making music by waving their hands in the air…Magical 🙂

I know now it’s been used in movie soundtracks, by Rock bands (Zeppelin, Rolling Stones), and in concert music over the years. This is the title track from Midsomer Murders that I love so well, played by Celia Sheen. So here’s to this weirdly wonderful musical instrument! Do let me know what you think!

15 thoughts on “The Theremin: Magical Music!

  1. fascinating! Yes the rock bands have used this plenty of times! Thanks for this, I love being educated on fun stuff.

    P.S: I quite like Midsomer Murders too. Been following it on BBC since you mentioned it 😉
    My favorite shows are a little older too, The Catherine Tate Show & The Mighty Boosh. The latter is a kaleidoscope of cuckoo-ness!

    1. I thought this would interest you Aarti!! You’re such a musical soul 😀 I’m so glad you like Midsomer Murders…I adore Barnaby (John Nettles), he’s just so the quintessential British copper (as if I would know!)!! The Mighty Boosh…see only the Brits would think up a name like that 😀

  2. Oh wow! This is such a fun post. Never even heard of the Theremin before, and weirdly wonderful is the perfect way to describe it 🙂
    This music was so eerie…..I love eerie music, cos I adore murder mysteries.

    1. Isn’t it just M?! I didn’t know it existed either and I find it fascinating to think that all that time ago, a man sat down and thought about how to make music without having to touch anything!! I mean…that is a creative soul 😀 You need to watch Midsomer Murders M, just so I can have the pleasure of your opinion on Barnaby 😛

  3. Thank you for posting this! I’m so happy you’ve discovered the theremin, it’s a big part of my life.
    If anyone want’s to learn more check out ThereminWorld http://www.thereminworld.com

    And I keep a basic explanation of this crazy instrument on my site
    What Is A Theremin http://www.hoge-theremin.com/salon/hoge-what-is-a-theremin.html

    Please feel free to check us out and ask questions in the forum on ThereminWorld, I really appreciate seeing more people discover it.

    – omhoge

    1. Thanks for dropping by John. I visited your site and your dedication to this ‘crazy instrument’ is amazing! Listened to your Largo by Handel…it’s just so cool the way the Theremin brings in a whole new dimension to music! Can’t get over the haunting tones!

      My best wishes to you in your effort to get more people to discover this very novel instrument!

  4. OMG…didn’t even know that something like this exists…truly enchanting….Theremin, you are a discovery for me!!

    1. Well said Chris!! Over the years TV has exposed me to a multitude of interesting stuff 🙂 Especially the Nat Geo and Discovery channels coz I’m a huge huge fan of wildlife! Thanks for dropping by! Haven’t updated in a month, so I truly appreciate your visit 🙂

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