Saturday, May 17, 2008


Lydia Kavina plays Claude Debussy's [1862-1918] "Claire de Lune" on the theremin.

"We have also sound-houses, where we practise and demonstrate all sounds and their generation. We have harmony which you have not, of quarter-sounds and lesser slides of sounds. Divers instruments of music likewise to you unknown, some sweeter than any you have; with bells and rings that are dainty and sweet. We represent small sounds as great and deep, likewise great sounds extenuate and sharp; we make divers tremblings and warblings of sounds, which in their original are entire. We represent and imitate all articulate sounds and letters, and the voices and notes of beasts and birds. We have certain helps which, set to the ear, do further the hearing greatly; we have also divers strange and artificial echoes, reflecting the voice many times, and, as it were, tossing it; and some that give back the voice louder than it came, some shriller and some deeper; yea, some rendering the voice, differing in the letters or articulate sound from that they receive. We have all means to convey sounds in trunks and pipes, in strange lines and distances."--Francis Bacon in The New Atlantis [1626].

"Although Bacon's text was Utopian, there is some indication that he was influenced by technological experiments of the day. For example, Salomon de Caus (c.1576-1626), a French hydraulics engineer, demonstrated in England such sonic curiosities as musical fountains, hydraulically activated songbirds, and even a kind of player piano."

Prediction vs prophecy

And yes Tim, the theremin was used in many science fiction films including your favorite The Day the Earth Stood Still.

But, Forbidden Planet is mine.

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