The Instrument of the Future Has Been Around for 100+ Years

Photo by Hutschi via Wikimedia Commons

I discovered something cool during my morning TikTok scroll: an instrument I’ve never seen before. I actually thought it was a joke at first.

@mezerg_Jam with Brülin ⚡️🥁 Full Track Available Everywhere on Streaming♬ son original – MEZERG

It’s called the theremin, and it was invented in 1919 by Leon Theremin, a Russian physicist – though it first came about as part of Soviet government-sponsored research into proximity sensors. 

The theremin comes with metal sensors which can sense the movement of the performer’s hands. Before bothering to Google it, I just thought the guy in the video (Mezerg) was doing some kind of interpretive dance.

According to the instrument’s Wikipedia page, it’s been used for movie and television soundtracks and is “often associated with eerie situations.”

Alexandra Stepanoff playing the theremin on NBC Radio, 1930. Photo: What’s On the Air Company, Public domain via Wikimedia Commons

Here’s a 2 minute overview. It’s a bit dry but they do a good job in explaining this thing.

Written by Pete

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