This, without exaggeration, a unique musical unit could not be ranked as any kind of instrument. Moreover, the melody that he plays after a couple of mysterious passes with his hands is so amazing that it is called alien. And the biography of its inventor is full of mysteries and rumors. All this is about the theremin - an amazing musical instrument, and its author Lev Theremin.
Lev Theremin is rightly considered the avant-garde and pioneer of electronics. And he lived a long, eventful life, outposting, in fact, all the historical and political periods of the changeable 20th century. However, remaining faithful to science, Theremin did not pay attention to external vicissitudes, until his last days he was engaged in electronics.
Lev Sergeevich Termen - a nobleman by birth - was born in St. Petersburg on August 28, 1896, was educated at the gymnasium, then graduated from the conservatory in the cello class. However, after he abruptly changed the direction of his interests and became a student at the Faculty of Physics and Mathematics. During the First World War, when radio technology was rapidly coming to the fore, Theremin worked in Tsarskoye Selo as a military radio engineer.
After the end of hostilities, he became an employee of Abram Ioffe's laboratory to study the electrical properties of gases. It was in this room in 1919 that Theremin created the first prototype of his most famous invention - a musical instrument, which later, with the light hand of a shark's feather, was named the theremin.
The Theremin was the first electrical instrument to gain tremendous acceptance - previous devices were too bulky. But Lev Sergeevich invented a completely unique mechanism for reproducing sound - Theremin adopted the axiom that sound is air vibrations similar to those created by an electromagnetic field. So, he placed two oscillators inside the theremin, and the difference in their frequencies is equal to the frequency of sound. The pitch was adjusted by moving the hand in relation to the antenna: the closer, the higher the sound. Therefore, the invention of Lev Theremin cannot be attributed to wind instruments, string instruments, or percussion instruments.
Interesting fact: The same principle was used by robots Theremin to create another brainchild, which we use today. This is a contactless alarm. Moreover, this device was enthusiastically received personally by Vladimir Lenin, for whom a demonstration was arranged right in the Kremlin.
Musical education allowed Lev Sergeyevich to make the theremin an instrument capable of reproducing melodies of huge ranges: according to Novate.ru, even the Indian scale, consisting of twenty-two notes, can be played on it. Thus, the inventor confirmed his own idea: "The performer … must control the sounds, but not extract them."
Theremin and its author gained immense popularity: the Bolsheviks decided to propagandize electrification with the help of creativity, and Theremin went on an all-Union tour. The activity of Lev Sergeevich did not end there: he continued to perform, and these events were called "lecture-concert". And soon he was invited to tour Europe.
In the 1930s, the coverage of the theremin's "space music" increased to the United States of America, where, after a long tour, Lev Sergeevich stayed to live. He met a large number of famous people of that time and significantly increased his material well-being, creating the Teletouch company, which deals with alarm systems and radio technical devices.
Interesting fact: Lev Termen bought out a six-story building and rented out apartments. One of the tenants was Albert Einstein, who was seriously interested in the theremin and how it worked.
At the same time, the status of a millionaire did not distract the passionate lover of science from the invention. So, Theremin designed several more electric musical instruments - theremin cello, "rhythmikon" - a prototype of a drum machine and "terpsiton" - in fact, a modernized theremin, but the sound was created not just by passing hands, but by a whole dance, the movement of the whole body of the "conductor".
The inventor became a real inspiration for other technicians who tried to create similar musical instruments. However, no one has succeeded in repeating the worldwide fame of the theremin.
The years passed, and the popularity of the unique instrument expanded and did not subside. The Theremin was put into serial production, hundreds of musicians around the world learned to play it, and the range of the repertoire was quite large: from the best examples of classical music to works written specifically for the theremin.
And Lev Sergeevich Termen remained faithful to his scientific passion and literally until his last days created something. During his long life, he managed to go through a lot: worldwide recognition, return to his homeland, which ended in arrest, continued work after his release. Surprisingly, he always kept up with the eras of the turbulent twentieth century, which were suddenly and rapidly changing. Lev Sergeevich died in 1993 in Moscow at the age of 97.
But his business still lives on. But few of our contemporaries know that the wireless signaling and listening devices that everyone knows were also the brainchild of an eternally young inventor. As for the theremin, its history has not faded away either, and thousands of musicians in different parts of the world are learning to create cosmic sounds. One of the most famous performers on this instrument is the great-grandson of Lev Sergeevich Pyotr Termen, who devoted all his activities to the instrument. He not only gives concerts, but also became the creator of the "Theremin School", where they teach to master the "melodies of the Universe", and also founded the "Thereminology" festival.
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