November 20, 2003

Attention, Aspiring Musicians.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 11:17 pm

It’s cool to be a musician. Musicians get to play in bands, hang out with other musicians, drink copious amounts of booze, and meet groupies. Musicians get invited to lots of parties, and they are always the center of attention.

You probably have always wanted to a musician. Admit it.

The problem is that some people just don’t seem to pack the gear to play musical instruments. When it comes to playing string instruments, they are all thumbs, and trying to play wind instruments produces sounds that attract various forms of wildlife in heat.

Are you completely out of luck?

Hell no. Buy a theremin.

The theremin (a representative picture appears above), possibly the first electronic instrument, was invented in 1919 by a Russian physicist named Lev Termen, who later changed his name to Leon Theremin.

Besides looking like no other instrument, the theremin is unique in that it is played without being touched. Two antennas protrude from the theremin – one controlling pitch, and the other controlling volume. As a hand approaches the vertical antenna, the pitch gets higher. Approaching the horizontal antenna makes the volume softer. Because there is no physical contact with the instrument, playing the theremin requires precise skill and perfect pitch. Link

Don’t let that “precise skill” and “perfect pitch” stuff dissuade you. All you have to do is wave your arms around the theremin and you’re a damned musician. Within five minutes, you’ll be playing spooky music – the wooooo wooooo wooooo stuff that you heard in the outer space movies from the 1950’s. Let see some guy with a Fender Strat match that!

Theremins come in all shapes and sizes, as can be seen in the theremin photo gallery, and you’ll look way cool playing it, as you can see in this video clip of a theremin guy gettin’ down and getting’ funky.

Still not convinced? Take a listen to Clara Rockmore, universally considered to be the best theremin player of all time, make that baby sing. You can also hear more here.

How can you learn more about theremins? No problemo. There is a wealth of information about theremins here, here and here.

So, if you’re sick of always being in the audience and not on the stage, get yourself a theremin, and join the Theremin Enthusiasts Club International. Be sure to bring your “axe” to the next house party you attend, and drop a few subtle hints like, “”Hi, Tom. I didn’t realize that my theremin was in the car. I’m afraid someone might steal it. Would it be OK if I brought it inside, just for safekeeping?” Or, “Yeah, that global warming thing is really a bitch. Hey, speaking of the earth, did you ever see that movie, ‘The Day the Earth Stood Still?’ As it happens my theremin is in the next room!”

Rock on, Dude.

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall…

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 8:54 pm

Who’s the sickest son of a bitch fairest of them all?

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