Author Archives: walter

Record Breaking Theremin Jam

272 Theremin players in Japan gathered and set a world record for the largest theremin ensemble.

The 272 musicians gathered from across Japan to grab a new world record — the world’s largest theremin ensemble. The featured instruments are actually modified versions of the theremin crammed into empty Russian nested dolls, dubbed “matryomin” by their creator.

The world’s only instrument played without any direct contact, the theremin’s high-pitched vibrato is familiar soundtrack to anyone who has ever screened a sci-fi flick.

Invented in the Soviet Union around 1920 by scientist Leon Theremin (who taught music aficionado Vladimir Lenin how to play it), the electronic device has been used over the years to add its distinctive, spooky sound to the Beach Boys’ hit “Good Vibrations” and the cult-classic daytime soap opera Dark Shadows.

A vocally simulated theremin was used in the opening theme to the Star Trek TV series. Theremin have also featured in many films scores and tunes by artists including Led Zeppelin and the Rolling Stones.

Read more at CBSNews.

The theremin is probably the first electronic instrument ever played in public. It is played by moving your hands by two antennas. One antenna changes the pitch and the other changes the volume. It is apparently very hard to play.

For more background ojn the theremin check out the movie Theremin: An Electronic Odyssey

This is Leon Theremin playing the instrument he created.

Jack White’s gift to the National Recording Preservation Foundation

Jack White, probably best known for being one half of the White Stripes, gave $200,000 to the National Recording Preservation Foundation. This is an organization committed to preserving audio from America’s past.

The National Recording Preservation Foundation is finally up and running, thanks to a $200,000 gift from the Grammy-winning rocker Jack White.

The inaugural gift, which is being announced Monday, allows the foundation to award grants and begin work on the National Recording Preservation Plan, which was issued last year. The foundation was created as part of a 2000 congressional act to organize and preserve the nation’s radio, music and recorded sound history.

“It’s thrilling,” Executive Director Gerald Seligman said, to be able to publicly launch the foundation. He cited White and foundation board members as extremely committed to preservation.

“Here we have a whole nation of cultural heritage in recorded sound [and] a lot of it is in precarious shape,” Seligman said. “Some was recorded on very fragile media — like old cylinders, acetates, reel-to-reel tapes — and it’s turning into shards.”

Read more here.

World’s Fastest Drummer

Tom Grosset is now the world’s fastest drummer. He broke the world record with 1,208 single strokes in 60 seconds which is about 20 strokes per second. The previous record was set by Dream Theatre drummer, Mike Mangini in 2003 who did 1,203 single strokes in a minute.

BTW, there is something called the “Drumometer” that measures these things.

Jimmy Page’s Martin Goes for 40K

A custom Martin guitar owned by Jimmy Page sold at auction for 26,250 pounds or $39,638 for those of us on the other side of the pond. Proceeds from the sale go to the charity, Action for Brazil’s Children Trust.


Also selling at this auction were a set of David Bowie lyrics for “The Jean Genie” those went for 18,750 pounds or $28066. That seems really high for lyrics but if you have that much money to spend on lyrics why not…

The oddest thing was probably a lock of Mich Jagger’s hair that went for 4000 pounds or $5959. Mick’s barber should take notice!

Stratocaster Played by Bob Dylan at the ’65 Newport Folk Festival is going to Auction

This is the guitar he played at the 1965 Newport Folk Festival and shocked everyone by “going electric”. One of the most famous, or infamous, electric guitars in history, the Stratocaster had disappeared for a while but recently turned up in New Jersey.

Read more at Rolling Store.

Air Guitar for Real

It doesn’t exist yet but there is an idea in the making to use two bracelets to make playing air guitar like playing a real guitar. There bracelets would even be able to tell what chord you are forming with your fingers.

It’s called sound brace. Check it out here.