The Instrument That Lets You Play the (Electromagnetic) Field


(lively, fast-paced music) – I’m sure if someone were to look inside my window while I’m playing, they probably would have no idea
what’s going on in here. To watch a theremin being played, looks really strange. (laughs) (electronic music) My name’s Pamelia Stickney and one of the instruments I love to play is the theremin. (laughs heartily) It’s like, what the hell was that?! (laughs) I dunno! (laughs loudly) So the theremin’s a synthesizer, and it’s a synthesizer
that’s not controlled with the use of a keyboard, like a piano. I’m controlling the
pitches with my left hand, and this hand is just
the articulation hand, the volume. (theremin scales) It’s controlled without
any physical contact. (theremin scales at lower pitch) And you can make it like a bird. (laughs) The really big challenge
with the instrument, is it’s reacting not just to my hands, and how they’re moving and my fingers, it’s sensitive as well, you know, to my whole body. (theremin music) I’ve recorded on an
album of David Byrne’s, Grace Jones, the Indigo Girls. (joyful music) It’s such a new instrument still that, there’s nobody who’s going to stand there and say, “you’re not doing it the way it’s supposed to be done.” I don’t think there’s
anything else like it. It doesn’t relate to anything else I’ve ever played.