Theremin magic

I read an interview (Dutch only) by Jan Volaard with Dave Grohl, ex-Nirvana drummer and current front man of Foo Fighters, in Dutch newspaper NRC Handelsblad last week. Nice read.

It tells about Jan Vollaard’s experimentation with an instrument called the Theremin. Had never heard about it before. Apparently, it’s one of the first electronic instruments invented in 1919. Basically, it’s a transistor radio with two antennas. In between the antennas a magnetic field is created. You get a specific frequency by moving one hand and a certain volume by moving the other. It took Vollaard a few years to master the instrument that you might know from the song ‘Good Vibrations’ by the Beach Boys.

At the end of the interview he shows the Theremin to Grohl and demonstrates how it works by playing the Dutch national anthem. Grohl decides to take his turn and plays around with the Theremin for a minute or two after which he plays a flawless version of the “Stars Spangled Banner”. Brilliant story.

After reading the interview I couldn’t stop thinking about it and was very curious to see how this instrument worked. This is one of the clips featuring the Theremin I found at YouTube.


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