Create Your Own Sci-Fi Soundscapes with the Amazing Online Theremin

You don’t even have to be a musician!

 

I FELL IN LOVE WITH THE THEREMIN (noun; the-re-min) many years before I even knew what it was—as a kid, watching The Day the Earth Stood Still, and marveling as the mighty robot Gort emerged from his flying saucer to a haunting melody that seemed to come from something that was part violin and part bumble bee.

Variations on that music became a staple of the eerie soundscape of 1950’s science fiction films. I watched them all and I still didn’t know what it was, but I sure loved it. I even recognized it in the Beach Boys’ classic,”Good Vibrations.”

Lev_Termen_playing_-_cropped_credit_wikipedia

Lev Termen and his   hands-free musical wonder.

Eventually I discovered that this strange sound came from something called a theremin, a hands-free instrument invented by Russian physicist and engineer Lev Sergeyevich Termen (right) in 1920. It was truly a marvel in its time, and in retrospect, how fitting it was that science fiction would for a time become identified with an instrument invented by a scientist and “played” in wondrous fashion, without any physical contact.

Flash forward to the digital age, and I bring you news of a new kind of Theremin—a free online synth instrument from Femur Design that does require physical contact but is available to everybody, everywhere, whenever inspiration strikes. I stumbled into it some time ago and I’ve been using it to score the sci-fi films in my head ever since. Try it out for yourself.

In addition to the free version there’s a paid app available for iPhone/iPad and Desktop that you can use to make layers, record, loop, and download your creations. Check out the video sample below.

No doubt, Lev Terman would be proud.

Lev Termen photo (above, right): Wikipedia

Stephen Vincent D’Emidio is the editor and publisher of Wonder Alliance. steve@wonderalliance.com

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