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Topic: Theremin
Message: Posted by: Doug Trouten (Oct 18, 2015 07:46PM)
The theremin is a musical instrument that you play by waving your hands near it (no touching required). This seems like a technology that could be adapted for magical effects. Does anybody know of a trick that uses the control principle of the theremin to do something other than make music?

For those unfamiliar with the theremin, here's a clip:

Message: Posted by: funsway (Oct 22, 2015 07:15PM)
There is a new version out using laser beams popular in schools

different principle, I am sure, but very magical in what can be produced musically just by waving your hands.

Beamz is one -- try https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mbk_hZLG6sM&index=5&list=PLEQFhEHIFhCXkip8wL1lftti1zJtadxcL
Message: Posted by: Doug Trouten (Oct 22, 2015 09:49PM)
Very cool, Funsway. I have a daughter who likes oddball musical instruments, so this went right on her Christmas list. I suppose the idea of using this kind of technology (or Theramin tech for that matter) to create an illusion is an illustration of Arthur C. Clarke's third law: "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."
Message: Posted by: funsway (Oct 23, 2015 04:25AM)
When I was doing Medieval stuff I pretended to demonstrate an ancient instrument as part of a bardic story. Actually, guy behind me played an Oud out of sight.

People were impresses and wanted to know where to buy one.

Now we have air guitars ...

PM me is desired and I'll tell you about an "earth bow, harp-drum" is she wants something really strange and very ancient.

no electronics, though
Message: Posted by: htmagic (Feb 3, 2017 09:54PM)
The Theremin is a strange electronic instrument and hard to play.
I didn't realize that it was featured on the original Star Trek theme song until Sheldon from the Big Bang Theory stated it.
But I recently ran across a group called Wintergatan that combines a hammered dulcimer with a Theremin.

And after you watch this video, watch their Marble Machine that makes music using 2000 marbles!
Here's the group with a Theremin.

Message: Posted by: Ben_Fox (Apr 25, 2017 09:37PM)
I know this is old, but this caught my eye and I wanted to share, because it turns out there are tons of effects that use the controlling principles behind the theremin, just not the way one might think.

The two antennae of the theremin work the same way; by using the player as a variable capacitor in a LC (inducer/capacitor) circuit. The change in capacitance of the circuit, caused by the change in distance from the player's hand to the antenna, is what controls the pitch and the volume. What makes a theremin hard to play is that the change in capacitance isn't linear based on distance; once you get close to the antenna, the changes in capacitance from even a small change in distance get quite pronounced. While it's possible to mitigate this effect with more sophisticated electronics, it can't be completely avoided. This is why one of the first sounds someone normally makes from a theremin is a zweEEEEoooowww sound, as the pitch begins to rapidly shoot upwards then drop off as the surprised would-be player gets their hand close to, then rapidly jerks it away from, the pitch antenna. This also means that any control scheme using the 'capacitance change as direct input' method will be touchy and fiddly, like a theremin, meaning other control schemes would generally be more effective.

But, that's not where the story ends. The theremin's real controlling principle is the change of capacitance in a circuit caused by using a human operator as a variable capacitor. You don't have to use this change as a direct input, however. If you had, for example, a grid composed of circuits of conductive materials and were constantly checking it for changes in capacitance, you'd have a pretty good idea of where somebody put their finger in relation to the lines of the grid. You wouldn't even need to touch the grid directly, in fact, you could bury it behind other materials, like, maybe, glass. This grid is more or less the mechanism by which the touchscreen on your smartphone works. That means that any magic app, or effects you can do on a smartphone, like Toxic, are all actually using the controlling principles of the theremin to work!

I know it's not quite the answer, but hopefully somebody will find it interesting. :)
Message: Posted by: Mindpro (Apr 29, 2017 09:26PM)
Ah, Good Vibrations!
Message: Posted by: MrWizard (Aug 18, 2017 05:51PM)
Yup the Beach Boys-Good Vibrations was the first place I seen it used as an instrument dang I'm must be old.


Here is a interesting info video on the Theremin.


I found it interesting hope you do too.