Giant Theremin Pyramid

Posted: 11/25/2011 9:16:45 AM

From: Leicester, UK

Joined: 9/23/2005 ()
Posted: 11/26/2011 5:56:47 AM

From: Canada

Joined: 8/1/2008

The question is, why has this random noise generator been called a "theremin" ( It isn't a theremin by any definition I've ever heard of. It's a wonderful effect, it will certainly amuse passers-by, and it may even liven up what seems to be a rather bleak part of town, but dat ain't no theremin. They should have given it a more imaginative and fanciful name - THE WALTZING MATILDA - THE SINGING TUT.

It has no more in common with a theremin than an automatic door that opens when you approach it.
Posted: 11/26/2011 8:20:50 AM

From: In between the Pitch and Volume hand ~ New England

Joined: 12/17/2010

I agree with you, Coalport.
Posted: 11/26/2011 8:49:44 AM

From: Leicester, UK

Joined: 9/23/2005

agreed - thought it interesting to note the media exposure, and the public perception of what a theremin is...
Posted: 11/27/2011 7:02:55 AM

From: Canada

Joined: 8/1/2008

For the majority of that tiny percentage of the public that has even heard the word "theremin" (I'll bet it's less than 1%), it is not a musical instrument at all. It is an effect, and it applies to any sound, produced by any means, that is eerie, spooky, and emulates the sort of FX used on the soundtracks of vintage SciFi flix.

Here's an example of what I mean. It was just posted to YT yesterday and it's called Cambiare Attacca ( The composer says it's for "theremin and Moog".

Do you hear a theremin in this composition? I don't. What I hear is a keyboard synth with a heavy vibrato on "glide".

If you were to play the sound you hear on the above video for a random group of people, and then play the sound of a true theremin, they would probably not hear any difference.

If it wobbles, it's a theremin.

If Melbourne's giant pyramid theremin is any indication, it doesn't even have to wobble. "Theremin" includes anything that is proximity activated.

As the definition of "theremin" expands to include more instruments and more sounds, the promoters of "World Thereminization" should be thrilled.

It's a theremin if you say it's a theremin.

Posted: 11/27/2011 7:12:25 AM

From: A Coruña, Spain

Joined: 9/26/2010

I guess if people use the term "theremin" for things that are not theremins, we can always say "true theremin" or some other term like "thereminvox", etc. I agree that this is not a theremin, but it's difficult to stop people from changing language (especially in English, where the official meanings of words are not set in stone by an ancient royal institution, as they are in Spanish).
Posted: 11/27/2011 12:33:15 PM

From: Canada

Joined: 8/1/2008

In France, vocabulary is set in stone by the ancient and venerable Academie Francaise but the French have found a way around that. THEY SAY IT IN ENGLISH!
Posted: 12/10/2011 2:17:56 AM

From: Hillsborough, NC (USA)

Joined: 2/13/2005

NPR covered this story the other day, so the Giant Theremin has been getting a LOT of attention.  If we're going to counter this propaganda that such a device might be called a theremin, we're going to have to work harder to spread the word!

Who's up for Occupy Giant Theremin?

You must be logged in to post a reply. Please log in or register for a new account.