MATRIXSYNTH: Grand Illusions - Mini Theremin & Stylophone

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Grand Illusions - Mini Theremin & Stylophone

Published on May 24, 2015 Grand Illusions

For those not familiar with Grand Illusions, he covers odd toys and collectibles. I thought I'd share these two here.

"The theremin is the only musical instrument that you play without touching! Invented in 1920 by the Russian inventor Leon Theremin, this is one of the earliest electronic instruments.

A full theremin has two antennae, one allows you to control the pitch of the note and the other the volume. This mini theremin only has one antenna, which allows you to control the pitch of the note. As you move your hand towards the antenna, the pitch of the note goes up, and as you move your hand away, the note gets lower. The slider on the left hand side of the machine has three positions; when it is pushed in fully, the theremin is off. In the mid position, the theremin plays quietly, and when it is pulled out fully, the theremin plays louder. There is a small jack socket at the back, which allows you to plug the theremin into another device, such as a small amplifier."


Published on Apr 17, 2013 Grand Illusions

"Although Tim didn't acquire this toy until the 1980s, it was already 20 years old at the time - the Stylophone came out in 1968! It is an early form of synthesizer, although as it is really a toy, the controls are quite simple. When you touch one of the metal keys with the stylus, this completes a circuit, and a note plays. On the front is the ON-OFF switch, and also a switch to add vibrato. On the back is a rotary control which changes the pitch of the instrument, which is useful if you need to combine the Stylophone with other instruments.

The Stylophone made a number of appearances in films, music and TV. David Bowie's track Space Oddity uses a Stylophone near the beginning.

Around 3 million were sold, before ceasing production in 1975. However recently, the son of the original inventor has started a new company, making an updated version of the Stylophone."

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