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[ther-uh-min] /ˈθɛr ə mɪn/
a musical instrument with electronic tone generation, the pitch and tone volume being controlled by the distance between the player's hands and two metal rods serving as antennas.
1925-30; named after Leo Theremin (born 1896), Russian inventor
Related forms
thereminist, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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British Dictionary definitions for theremin


an electronic musical instrument, played by moving the hands through electromagnetic fields created by two metal rods
Word Origin
C20: named after Leon Theremin (1896-1993), Russian scientist who invented it
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin and History for theremin

1927, from the name of its inventor, Russian engineer Léon Thérémin (1896-1993).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Encyclopedia Article for theremin

electronic musical instrument invented in 1920 in the Soviet Union by Leon Theremin (also called Lev Termen). It consists of a box with radio tubes producing oscillations at two sound-wave frequencies above the range of hearing; together, they produce a lower audible frequency equal to the difference in their rates of vibration. Pitch is controlled by moving the hand or a baton toward or away from an antenna at the right rear of the box. This movement alters one of the inaudible frequencies. Harmonics, or component tones, of the sound can be filtered out, allowing production of several tone colours over a range of six octaves. The American composer Henry Cowell and the French-American composer Edgard Varese have written for the theremin. The instrument was used in recordings by the American rock group the Beach Boys and in the soundtracks of several science fiction films

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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