Definition of theremin in English:



  • An electronic musical instrument in which the tone is generated by two high-frequency oscillators and the pitch controlled by the movement of the performer's hand toward and away from the circuit.

    • ‘The theremin brought a real originality to the mix.’
    • ‘The theremin has the potential to be the electric guitar of this generation.’
    • ‘The theremin is believed to have been the first electronic musical instrument, and it features in many of Miklos Rosza's scores.’
    • ‘It's actually one of their most solid, cohesive releases, immediately illustrating that the band's utilization of theremin, marimba, banjo, musical saw, and bass clarinet was never a gimmick, but rather a means to an end.’
    • ‘The theremin was the first electronic instrument, invented by Leon Theremin in the 1920s and still played today.’
    • ‘The final portion of the song is its shining moment, a powerful distorted guitar and the pounding piano provide a strong backdrop for a shrieking theremin.’
    • ‘And then they use a theremin to get things really spooky.’
    • ‘Although commercially made theremins had been available since the late 1920s, it was not until 1944 that one of the instruments found its way onto the soundtrack of a Hollywood film.’
    • ‘He started out making theremins (which he still produces) and a decade later introduced his first line of electronic synthesisers, the Moog Modular.’
    • ‘Out of the corner of my eye I saw a dozen musicians climb on stage with no less than 15 instruments, including bass trombone, accordion, pedal steel guitar, saw and theremin!’
    • ‘The song picks up for its coda, breaking into a steady waltz beneath cleanly strummed guitars and theremin.’
    • ‘It combines live didgeridoo, bass theremin and hand drums with electronic sequences and loops.’
    • ‘As neat an instrument as the theremin is, some of its mystique vanishes when you first hear a musical saw; the two don't produce the exact same sound, but it's remarkably close.’
    • ‘They will be joined on guitar, organ and theremin by Nick Larkins.’
    • ‘They meet up in Torino without much of a plan and immerse themselves in the studio with traditional rock instruments plus a bunch of theremins and glockenspiels.’
    • ‘The theremin is a music instrument you play without touching.’
    • ‘The album featured a liberal use of theremin, glockenspiel and organ; its far-off vibe could be bombastic and quaint, earthy and robotic at the same time.’
    • ‘So we had a very satisfying jam, with bass guitar, theremin and a drum kit minus sticks and cymbals.’
    • ‘Natalia plays these novelty instruments, including Austrian cowbells, the theremin, the toy piano and the musical saw.’
    • ‘Hermann's score uses not one but two theremins.’


Early 20th century: named after Lev Theremin (1896–1993), its Russian inventor.