Date: Sat, 6 May 1995 00:01:16 EDT From: Philip Hess Hello, As a child, I can recall visiting a museum in Toronto Canada that had this neat machine that made various noises when you moved your hands across it. It sensed your presence either by light or capacitance. The primary application it seems was to generate space craft noises for science fiction movies in the 50's and 60's. I believe that it was called a "thermin" or something similar. Anybody know what this is and can point me in the direction of plans to make one? Thanks Philip Hess North Hills School District Pittsburgh, PA USA
Date: Sat, 6 May 1995 23:57:33 EDT From: Robert Gershon I can't remember the name of the device, but you are close. There was an article in the New York Times Sunday arts section on it a couple of years ago. You might try the index under movie sound or some such. It was invented by a Russian who worked within the system in the USSR and then tried in the West. Wish I remembered more. Robert Gershon Communication Dept. Castleton State College Castleton, VT 05735
Date: Mon, 8 May 1995 10:00:23 EDT From: Allan R Barclay Yes, its called a theremin. You play it by moving your hand at varying distances from a sensor of some kind. I remember a fair amount of material in the Brittanica under the "electronic music" heading. Strangely enough, its also been discussed in the electronic music (emusic) listserv, though I'm afraid I didn't keep the posts. You might bop in and post a question there (I don't have the address handy, but I think you could get to it fairly easily via Netscape). Allan ________________________________________________________________________ Allan R Barclay Assistant Reference Librarian Ruth Lilly Medical Library Indiana University School of Medicine (317) 274-2254
Date: Mon, 8 May 1995 23:20:03 EDT From: "Dr. Jim Swanson" I think this machine was made by RCA. There was a rod antenna that one "played" to control the pitch, and a little loop antenna on the left side that was the volume control. I remember going to a Theremin "concert" at the rural school I attended in Florida. A man whose name was Orben Sime (?) presented a one-person concert of sacred music. He requested no applause because of the type of music he played, and took up a "free-will" offering as his compensation. I can't imagine that he made much in our town. This was more than 50 years ago. (God, but I'm getting old.) But I guess it made an impression on me. Maybe that concert piqued my interest in computers & other things electronic.... Jim S. Dr. Jim Swanson Associate Professor Aviation Business Administration Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University 600 S. Clyde Morris Blvd. Daytona Beach, Florida 32114
In 1945 he seemed to disappear and only recently has it emerged that he was working on research projects such as bugging devices for the KGB.