Ever since I was a young lad, I've loved the haunting tones of the Theremin. Of course, things have come a long way since this instrument was invented in 1919 by the Russian physicist and musician Leon Theremin.
Quite apart from anything else, it is no longer obligatory to present oneself in formal dress to play one of these beasts, and I'm sure we are all truly thankful. As far as I'm concerned, Hawaiian shirts are much more in tune with this style of music (pun intended).
It's amazing how this topic keeps on popping up. For example, I remember watching a repeat episode of The Big Bang Theory not so long ago in which Sheldon is playing a Theremin.
Every time I see one, I think to myself "Ooh, shiny. I want one of those." Of course, I've tried building one in the past (who hasn't?), but the result was less than spectacular. In fact, the sound was so interesting that everyone asked me to stop playing it, much like my experiments with the Scottish bagpipes. I fear that people are losing their love of music, but perhaps we should explore that topic in a future blog.
The thing is that I just saw an EE Times article by R. Colin Johnson on something called a Theremini. His article linked to this YouTube video, in which Dorit Chrysler, co-founder of the New York Theremin Society, explores the sonic possibilities of the Theremini.
What can I say? I love the Theremini. I immediately bounced over to this Amazon page to see how much the little rascals cost. I tell you, I spend so much time and money on Amazon that I think it is going to name one of its warehouses after me.
I don't care what you say. I think the Theremini looks uber-cool -- truly a Theremin for the 21st century. But I'm less than enthralled by the $299 price tag (sad face).
My chum Jay Dowling is always sending me links to interesting things, so I sent him a link to the Theremini and said, "I want one of these!" Jay is a big supporter of the programmable SoC (PSoC) devices from Cypress Semiconductor. Almost immediately, he responded, "Or you could save yourself $300 and make one for free using a PSoC kit:"
Well, that was a surprise, not the least because, by some strange quirk of fate, I happen to have a PSoC 4 Pioneer Kit sitting on my desk looking up at me whispering "Use me... use me..."
How about you? Have you ever owned and played a Theremin? If so, what did you think of the experience? And what do you think about the Theremini? Is this something you might invest in, or would you be more inclined to construct your own version?
— Max Maxfield, Editor of All Things Fun & Interesting