Purveyor of geek-friendly toys and gadgets ThinkGeek is now offering the Theremin Mini Kit, a miniature assemble-it-yourself theremin which is marketed toward those looking to get started with the instrument.
For the uninitiated, the theremin is an unusual instrument which comes with an equally-odd back story involving a Russian inventor who toured the U.S. and ended up in one of Stalin’s gulag camps.
To make music, the player waves their hand around an antenna protruding from the theremin. Electro-magnetic waves are generated in a zone around this antenna, and when they are interrupted by the introduction of a hand, the frequency of the waves is altered, changing the audible tone of the instrument as a result. In this way, by moving a hand around, one hopefully creates strange and beautiful music in the process.
Many theremins also employ a second antenna which controls volume and works in the same way, but budget models like the Theremin Mini Kit usually forgo this.
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