Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. An electronic instrument played by moving the hands near its two antennas, often used for high tremolo effects.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. An electronic musical instrument that generates sound of varying pitch and volume depending on the proximity of the musician’s hands to two antennae mounted on the instrument.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. an electronic musical instrument; melodies can be played by moving the right hand between two rods that serve as antennas to control pitch; the left hand controls phrasing

Etymologies

After Leo Theremin (1896-1993), Russian engineer and inventor.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From its inventor Léon Theremin. Theremin is a French surname (compare Russian Термен (Termen)). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • The theremin is also probably the only musical instrument designed by a man who also designed bugging equipment for the Soviet security system.

    A Laser Harp for the Elite Masses? - Bits Blog - NYTimes.com

  • A theremin is a musical instrument ... a sort of electrical coil which gives off a humming sound.

    Whistling towards the graveyard

  • I said I was embarrassed not to know; someone had assured me that a theremin was a kind of "Eastern" religion, and the "cracking into a thousand pieces" was the consequence of being peered at by a waiflike holy man enveloped in a white shroud.

    Whistling towards the graveyard

  • The theremin is a very difficult instrument to master.

    Theremin Auction

  • Accordingly a theremin is a direct lesson in the interconnection of you, the environment, and others in a way that I do not see as straightforwardly obvious for other instruments.

    [theremin] we are all connected

  • In 1919, he invented an electronic device known as the theremin, which was a unique musical instrument that could be played without physical contact.

    The Free Information Society

  • The dynamic range of the theremin, which is controlled by the left hand volume loop, is full and rich.

    NewMusicBox

  • The theremin is a monophonic instrument; which is to say, it can only produce one pitch at a time.

    NewMusicBox

  • And the theremin was an irreparably broken peice of shit not worth spitting over.

    Kerry was wrong

  • I was very excited by this, but not knowing what a "theremin" was, I had to reach Mr. Addams on the phone to ask.

    Archive 2007-06-01

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Comments

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  • A one-of-a-kind musical instrument: here's a demonstration.

    July 29, 2007