Theremin-Cello (1929)

Used by the great Stokowski to reinforce his orchestra's bass section, until the subsonic rumblings made the orchestra members complain of sickness...

The Theremin Cello was another adaptation of Leon Termen, who was originally a cellist himself. Theremin's instrument was manufactured by Termens Teletouch company in New York City, USA, c1930.

Instead of the Cello's strings, the Theremin-Cello has a flexible black plastic film fingerboard which produces a tone for as long as the finger is depressed, the pitch is defined by the position on the fingerboard and the volume is controlled by a lever. The timbre of the sound is controlled by two rotary knobs built onto the Cello's body.

The instrument was used throughout the 1930's by a number of musicians most notably Leopold Stowkowski who commissioned Termen to design and build a bass Theremin Cello which was later abandoned due to the side effects caused by subharmonic frequencies on the orchestra's string section.

Leon Theremin

Leon Theremin

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