We really love the theremin. Its strange, synthetic, alien sound was miles ahead of its time. Invented in the 1920s by Russian Léon Theremin, well before digital synthesizers were born, it's the only musical instrument in the world that can be played without physical contact from the player.
It consists of two antennas attached to a device, inside of which a system of vacuum tubes, oscillators, coils, and wires creates an electromagnetic field around the antennas. When the player's hands enter this field, sound is produced, with one antenna controlling the pitch and the other controlling the volume.
Enter the Matryomin -- a one-handed theremin invented in 2003 by 46-year-old Japanese theremin player Masami Takeuchi. For some reason, he's packed it all inside a matryoshka doll. It still counts as a theremin, though, which means that when Takeuchi's company Mandarin Electron put together an ensemble of 272 Matryomin players (plus a conductor) on July 20, they managed to score a Guinness World Record for the world's largest theremin ensemble. … Read more