There are hundreds of musical instruments out there… And there always will be some smart guy to bring a new one to our attention! A new musical instrument? It’s not really the case with the Ken Moore‘s invention, but I like the idea and the resulting creation…
Ken had a Wii device… Ken is a user interaction designer… So, it’s not surprising that in his mind a Wii remote can be used to many other tasks than just breaking your TV screen playing a video game. So here is the Wii Theremin that simulates one of the weirdest musical instrument ever made, the Theremin. Here is a video of Ken playing his Wii Theremin (there are a few others on his youtube channel).
The Theremin was invented around 1920 by Leon Theremin. It is probably the first electronic instrument. It is also the only instrument you can play without touching it as you control the pitch and the volume via a set of 2 antennae. Then, you just have to place your hands in front of the antennae and vary the distance. Quite easy huh? Well, at least easy to do but quite hard to control.
I love the versatility of this instrument that ranges from very vocal tones to the weirdest sci-fi sounds. It is quite popular in avant-garde and experimental music but it’s also used in classical music (guess the violin-like tone -just focus and you’ll hear it- has something to do with this) or in pop or rock music (Beach Boys, Jon Spencer, Dr Mad Vibe aka Angelo Moore from Fishbone, and so on…). Several brands built theremins althought they are quite rare to find… What a shame!
The sounds that Ken Moore gets from his Wii Theremin are quite close to the actual theremin, and the association with a synth might give it some extended possibilities… So, my little gwiiks (what a weird word) will you be ready to do some actual music rather than some guitar hero stuff??
You can hear some examples of musics performed with the Theremin in the following video playlist…