Odds & Sods

The mystery of the Theremin

I remember the first time I ever saw a Theremin being used and I suspect I wasn’t the only one. It was watching Jimmy Page in “The Song Remains the Same” and I couldn’t figure out what the heck he was doing on stage with an AM radio! I was recently thinking about all of this and started to wonder, “What is a Theremin and how does it work?” A quick Google search later and I came across two sites that answer this question for those with inquiring rock and roll minds (like me!). The first is Theremin World (natch) which only goes to show that there is a website dedicated to absolutely everything on the Internet these days. An incredible resource for you mad musical scientists out there. The second site is The Theramin which has some details about Jimmy Page’s use of the Theramin and also corrects a popular misconception (which I in fact shared) that a Theramin was not in fact used in making The Beach Boys’ “Good Vibrations” but in fact it was an Electro-Theremin! Obscure but interesting.
UPDATE! Barbara Flaska has pointed to me to a great review of the book “Theremin: Ether Music and Espionage” about Leon Theremin, the guy who invented Jimmy Page’s weird weapon of choice. Even more interesting but obscure factoids. Who says rock and roll isn’t educational?