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                                                                                              Barry R. Morse

                                                                                                                              December 13, 2011








            The camera slowly moves in on the young woman’s face, centering it full frame. Terror creeps across her features. A menacing hum is heard gradually rising into a nervous wail. “No, no!” cries the woman. The wailing increases sharply in pitch and volume merging with her scream.

            The sound of the theremin so pervaded the science-fiction-horror genre of 1950s Hollywood movies that the unique sound became a cliché.  That sound has been used to evoke the weird even when not actually produced by a theremin; for example, the Beach Boy’s 1966 hit song “Good Vibrations,” the Star Trek TV series (1966-1969) theme song and the Simpsons’ “Treehouse of Horror” Halloween specials running every season since 1990. (“Good Vibrations” used Paul Tanner’s electro-theremin, (1) Star Trek’s theme was sung by soprano Loulie Jean Norman, (2) and the “Treehouse of Horror” theme probably uses a synthesizer). (3)

            The truth is that the space-controlled theremin as invented by Lev Sergeyevich Termen (aka Leon Theremin) in 1920 is capable of much more than producing creepy movie sound effects. It has been and still is used in serious concert music. In fact, there are at least two main streams or “schools” of theremin playing and repertoire, each originating from a different set of musical aesthetics and standards.  This paper will outline these two streams and highlight some of the performers and compositions associated with each.

            One serious methodological problem is the lack of available material, especially from the earlier years of this study. Soundtracks to early films, recordings and scores are often not readily available. Carol J. Oja admits as much when she writes that many pieces for new mechanical instruments such as the “First Airphonic Suite for theremin and orchestra” are “known more by reputation than first hand acquaintance. Few were performed in New York during the 1920s, and all remain in manuscript.”(4) I will attempt to skirt this problem by making assumptions where necessary based on critics’ descriptions of a piece of music, my own familiarity with the theremin and with contemporary music in general. This will often not be scientific and will be subject to revision as more concrete information becomes available, but I believe that a preponderance of evidence will nevertheless support the ideas put forth in this paper that traditionalist performers treated the instrument, by and large, as they would a traditional acoustical instrument in regards to repertoire and performance, and that early 20th century “Machine Age” composers promoted completely different methods of theremin sound production, with new compositions and notations to achieve those ideals.








            The 19th century musical Romanticist traits of lyricism, tonality, and intonation (i.e. playing “in tune” with fixed pitch instruments) as well as traditional notational conventions follow the first of two main streams of theremin repertoire and performance from the instrument’s inventor through his students and future followers. In fact, theremin performers in this school have minimized the instrument’s unique idiomatic qualities and have instead molded it into a form of traditional concert presentation comparable to that of any traditional 19th century orchestral instrument or voice.

Lev Sergeyevich Termen (1896-1993) (aka Leon Theremin)


            The Russian physicist, musician and inventor Leon Theremin (fig. 1) emerged into the West to promote his new space-controlled “Termenvox” in 1927.

He already had over 180 performances to his credit having traveled extensively in the Soviet Union giving demonstrations of the new power of electrification. Now, he was converting westerners in Berlin, Paris and London and at the Frankfurt International Exposition. By the time he reached New York City in December of that year he had so hyped the future possibilities of the instrument that he was offered an unprecedented $35,000 for a single performance.(5) His official American orchestral debut with the New York Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra in August of 1928 to an outdoor crowd of 12,000 featured “The Swan” by Saint-Saens, “Elegy” by Massenet, “Skylark” by Glinka, “Vocalise” by Rachmaninoff and other melodic transcriptions already in the classical repertoire.

            Theremin had loftier ideals for the theremin; for example, he was planning a 40-piece theremin orchestra

in 1928.(6) However, he had to be practical at first in order to promote the strange radio-like device as a musical

instrument, and one that the consumer would buy. He said, “To give a program of modern music…would present

the instrument as a freak.”(7) To this end Theremin seemed to promote only music in a Romantic vein even on the

two occasions of new music written specially for him. On May 2, 1924 Theremin, along with the Leningrad Philhar-

monic Orchestra, premiered the first original composition for theremin: Andrey Filippovich Pashchenko’s (1883-1972)

A Symphonic Mystery for Termenvox and orchestra.(8)  Unfortunately, no other reference to this piece could be found.

However, based upon Theremin’s desire to present the instrument in as traditional light as possible especially at such

an early point in its history, one might assume the piece to be within the Romantic/classical aesthetic and not to be

especially progressive musically. The other new work for theremin was Joseph Schillinger’s (1895-1943) First Airphonic

Suite for RCA theremin and orchestra premiered by Theremin and the Cleveland Orchestra, November 28, 1929. This

piece is known to be traditionally Romantic (“[it] begins a la Borodin and ends up like ‘Rhapsody in Blue”)(9) and in

seven movements: "Prelude", "Song", "Interlude", "Dance", "Postlude", "Dithyramb", "Finale".(10) Critic OlinDownes

described it as “a simple and rather sentimental ditty of the kind that jazz orchestras discourse in their more solemn

moments….”(11) A listening to “Melody” on the Lydia Kavina CD “Music from the Ether: Original works for Theremin”(12)

will bear out the Romantic claims for First Airphonic Suite: it is a piano reduction of the opening movement of Schillinger’s work. No score or other recordings are yet available for study.

            This new tradition of Romanticism even in new works for the theremin will continue within this stream of performance and repertoire with Theremin’s students, Lucie Rosen and Clara Rockmore.


Lucie (Bigelow) Rosen (1890-1968)


            Lucie Rosen (fig. 2) was a wealthy Manhattanite who, along with her husband Walter, an international

banker, became Theremin’s student and patron, renting him one of their brownstone apartment buildings for

his use as living quarters, laboratory and studio. She and Walter established their rural estate called Caramoor

outside of the city as a haven for music and art lovers. Today, the Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts con-

tinues to hold concerts and festivals.

            In her own day, Rosen became a theremin virtuoso and toured extensively, including three European

tours in 1936, 1939 and 1950. Her final performance was in 1953 playing Saint-Saens’ “The Swan” as her final

selection. Like her teacher Theremin, Rosen specialized in interpreting transcriptions from the classical liter-

ature. Her New York Town Hall debut in 1935, for example, featured works by H. Wolf, R. Strauss, Wagner,

Bach and Debussy.(13) Lucie Rosen helped to promote the theremin and more than anyone at this time actively

commissioned new works creating the earliest small repertoire of original music for theremin solo. These

pieces include:


  • (1933) “Nocturne” for theremin and piano, by Edward B. Mates

  • (1933) “Illusion” for theremin and piano, by Sandor Harmati

  • (1933) “Dance in the Moon” for theremin and piano, by Friedrich Wilckens

  • (1934) “Complaint” for theremin and piano, by Ricardo Valente

  • (1938) Mouvements Symphoniques for theremin and orchestra, by Jeno Takacs

  • (1939) “Chant du Soir” for theremin and piano, by Jeno Szanto

  • (1939) Concerto in F for theremin and orchestra, by Mortimer Browning

  • (1944) “Serenade” for theremin and piano, by John Haussermann

  • (1945) “Improvisation” for theremin and piano, by Isidor Achron

  • (1945) "Phantasy" for theremin, oboe, piano and string quartet, by Bohuslav Martinu


            Some of these pieces are available for first-hand study. Both “Dance in the Moon” and “Improvisation” have been recorded by Lydia Kavina and are available on her Music from the Ether CD.(14) The much better known "Phantasy" (aka “Fantasia,” “Fantaisie” or “Fantasy”) by Martinu is not only recorded by Kavina on the same recording but the full score and parts are available.(15) Only an unpublished score exists for Haussermann’s “Serenade,” however.(16) All of these comparatively new works fall well within the 19th century aesthetic of lyrical, tonal concert music, and traditional notation, with the Martinu and perhaps Haussermann (fig. 3) featuring some extended chromaticism. Browning’s Concerto almost certainly can be included in this generalization as well for, according to Noel Straus who reviewed a performance in 1944, the Concerto contained a “pastoral chief subject and its chorale-like contrasting theme.”(17) The hypothesis that Rosen’s stylistic preferences in new theremin music did not progress beyond popular concert fare is further supported by her own instructions to composers:

                                    When composers ask me what general instruction is needed to write for the theremin…

                                    I would say they should think of a song; a song for an archangel’s voice, of five octaves,

                                    and incredible power and sweetness, that can dive to the rich low tones of a cello, and

                                    include the thin high harmonics of the violin; that can be heard in great spaces without

                                    effort, through and above a great orchestra, blending with all other instruments    

                                    and voices.(18)


            Lucie Rosen made great contributions to the popularization of the theremin as a concert instrument

and in developing a body of original work. Nevertheless, none of these new works, not to mention the count-

less transcriptions from the pre-existing literature, took advantage of very many of the idiomatic qualities of

the space-controlled theremin itself. Clara Rockmore, it will be shown, has much to do with developing a per-

formance technique to make sure the theremin can successfully compete with traditional instruments on

their terms.


Clara (Reisenberg) Rockmore (1911-1998)


            Clara Rockmore (fig. 4) is today still considered to be the greatest theremin virtuoso and there are

several films of her informal performances and two compact disc recordings commercially available to prove

it. Rockmore, born in Lithuania, was first a violin virtuoso. At the age of five she was accepted to the St.

Petersburg Conservatory and by the age of nine was performing professionally.(19) She toured Europe with

her sister, Nadia, and arrived in New York in 1921, later meeting Theremin and his instrument.  She became

intrigued by it and when a bone injury caused her to abandon the violin, she adopted the theremin.(20)

            Rockmore’s desire to perform again at a high level of virtuosity required some technical modifications:

first she had the inventor increase the sensitivity of the left hand volume antenna so that she could better

articulate notes. As she explained in an interview, “Before me it was all gliss.”(21) She then worked on develop-

ing a fingering technique, called “aerial fingering” which allows the player to move to discrete intervals within

the sound field while minimizing disruptive arm motion. This technique is today maintained by many “classic-

ally” trained thereminists. Both Lydia Kavina  and her student Carolina Eyck advocate such technique (fig. 5). 

            Rockmore also suggested that she had used an artificial “bowing” effect on very long notes to emulate

a string  player’s need to change bow direction.(22) These technical innovations did more to move the theremin

away from its natural idiomatic characteristics and toward direct competition with traditional acoustic instruments

than anything else, for, by minimizing portamento, endless phrasing and microtonal pitches the theremin could more

effectively perform the 19th century literature that this school of thereminists promoted. Rockmore’s literature choices

closely mirrored Lucie Rosen’s: Clara’s own Town Hall debut, three months before Lucie’s, featured the music of Stravin-

sky, Ravel, Glazunov, Tchaikovsky, Bach and Rachmaninoff.(23)

            Apparently, the only “new” piece of music Clara Rockmore performed was Anis Fuleihan’s (1900-1970) Concerto

for theremin and orchestra of 1944 written especially for her and commissioned by Leopold Stokowski. The piece, again,

apparently in a Romantic style, was described by Louis Biancolli as being “drenched in exotic pastoral mood” and whose

“[p]hrasing and line were as expressive as the instrument allowed.”(24)

Rockmore’s own 19th century traditionalist aesthetics become clear in light of her refusal of an offer to play the theremin

part in Miklos Rozsa’s (1907-1995) score for Alfred Hitchcock’s movie Spellbound (1945):


                                  You are speaking of Hollywood now. That’s the only thing that they wanted to make weird noises

                                  and it’s spooky. You were supposed to be frightened by the sound and all that and that was not

                                  what I wanted to add to. I just wanted to be a serious musician and play Bach. (Pretend) Stokowski

                                  came here and said ‘Play Bach for me’. That’s a compliment.(25)

              Clara Rockmore never partook in the modernist or avant-garde movements in music or theremin playing. She was firmly

rooted in the tradition from which she came and of which she helped to nourish.









            As soon as Leon Theremin began presenting his invention in the West, composers (and critics) of a progressive bent, the

“Machine Age” composers, began to make their complaints known. The main objections were the lack of idiomatic sounds

(portamento, noises, microtones) and original repertoire. Composer Ernst Toch (1887-1964), for example, commented that as

long as performers treated the theremin as another traditional instrument it would “hold no interest for composers.” But if it

were to be used for what it can do “between the fixed pitches and between the fixed tone colors” then that would be more allur-

ing to the composer.(26) John Cage (1912-1992) later wrote that thereminists who were making it sound like “some old instrument”

were “shielding” us from “new sound experiences.”(27) Lucie Rosen, being in Theremin’s aesthetic camp, was also not immune to



                                 The program [1938] relied on music written for other instruments or for voice. That seems to be the chief

                                 difficulty with a Theremin recital at this time. The special tone produced by playing the instrument could

                                 be heard to best advantage perhaps in music composed for it. And the time may come when electrical in-

                                 struments of all genres will evoke from composers a new tonal language and a recital such as last night’s

                                 may have authentic excitement beyond the relative novelty of the voice of the instrument.(28)


            Part Two will outline this stream of performance practice and repertoire stemming from Machine Age aesthetics by high-

lighting key composers, compositions and performers who make better use of the space-controlled theremin’s idiomatic qualities.

Ecuatorial (1932-34)


            Edgard Varese’s (1883-1965) Ecuatorial, while still relying on traditional notation and performance tech-

nique (e.g. “in tune” pitches, minimal use of portamento, excessive vibrato, etc.), is one of the first truly “new”

compositions in the Machine Age aesthetic to utilize theremins. Actually, the two instruments as originally

scored were  “electric stringless cellos” or “fingerboard theremins” (fig.6) originally designed by Theremin in

1922, then improved to Leopold Stokowski’s needs in 1928, who used one to support the bass line in a Bach

arrangement for the Philadelphia Orchestra. The instrument was held in the same manner as a traditional

cello, but the left hand controlled pitches by sliding a finger along a ribbon controller running the length of the

instrument. The right hand controlled a lever which affected articulation and volume. Not a “space-controlled

theremin,” but because it was designed and built by Leon Theremin it is sometimes called a “theremin.” The im-

portant difference is that the fingerboard theremin could play “in tune,” make intervallic leaps more safely and

articulate more precisely than could the more “traditional” theremin. Varese had Theremin modify the instru-

ments so that, rather than playing in the string bass to cello range, they would correspond to the high violin

range. It is these instruments that played the sometimes rhythmically tricky parts in Ecuatorial, (fig. 7)

premiered in 1934 at New York’s Town Hall with Nicolas Slonimsky conducting. The unusual and power-

fully dissonant work is also scored for four trumpets, four trombones, piano, organ, six percussionists,

and bass vocals singing Spanish translations of a Mayan text taken from their sacred book Popul Voh.

            Varese used theremins primarily to extend the available pitch range (the theremin part

reaches a whole step above the highest piano or piccolo note) and for new timbral extensions.

Indeed, the theremins stand out clearly in a 1983 Pierre Boulez conducted performance by the

Ensemble InterContemporain.(29) A critic in 1934 wrote of the premiere, “Certain imperfections

in the still new theremins marred the ensemble now and then and technical difficulties muddied

an occasional passage. But these were faults in the performance and not in conception, and will

be eliminated in the course of time.”(30) Varese did eliminate the faults in the course of time. In

the next edition of Ecuatorial he replaced the theremins with ondes Martinot.


“Free Music No. 1” (1935)


            The earliest and one of the best examples of the true Machine Age approach to the theremin

is “Free Music No. 1” for four theremins composed in 1935 by Percy Grainger (1882-1961), although

originally scored for four violins. Grainger’s “Free Music No. 2” (1935-7) was originally scored for six

theremins.(31) What makes these pieces so perfectly capture the true free nature of the space-

controlled theremin is the total absence of  bar lines, stepped, fixed pitches, and conceptual restric-

tions traditional notation might imply (fig. 8). Each hand of the thereminist is separately notated with

its own curves (right hand pitch change at the top, left hand volume at the bottom), unrelated to the

movements of the other hand. Color coding in the original score distinguished each theremist from

the other as well as showing which left hand part belonged to which right hand part.  Furthermore,

the score’s curves and dips represent an exact analog to the physical movements required by the per-

former making this also one of the first graphic scores.            

            While Grainger’s folk song sensibilities may be rooted in the 19th century of his mentor

Edvard Grieg, his extreme experimental side was firmly planted in the Machine Age: “It seems to

me absurd to live in an age of flying and yet not be able to execute tonal glides and curves….”(32)   

“It [free music] seems to me the only music logically suitable to a scientific age.”(33) and “Machines

(if properly constructed and properly written for) are capable of niceties of emotional expression

impossible to a human performer. That is why I write my “Free Music” for theremins---the most

perfect tonal instruments I know.”(34)

            The results of this approach to the instrument is a music that is ghostly and ethereal, quite

unlike the Varese. In fact, it sounds more akin to the science-fiction movie soundtracks of the next

two decades than to the concert stage interpretations of Clara Rockmore’s classical transcriptions.(35)























Dr. Samuel Hoffman (1904-1967)


            The theremin arguably made its deepest and longest-lasting mark on the public psyche by its use in Hollywood movie

soundtracks depicting unstable states of mind in the 1940s and the otherworldly in the 1950s, thanks almost exclusively to

Dr. Samuel Hoffman (fig. 9). Hoffman, a New York City podiatrist by day, played violin and doubled on theremin leading night-

club orchestras at night. In 1941 he moved his business to Hollywood, California, and registered with the local musician’s union

as a violinist and, almost as an afterthought, as a thereminist. Soon he got a call from Miklos Rozsa who was scoring Alfred

Hitchcock’s Spellbound (1945). The score was a major success. In fact, it won an Academy Award probably due, in part, to the

perfect choice of theremin. Russell Lack in Twenty-Four Frames Under: A Buried History of Film Music writes: “The instrument’s

tremulous otherworldly sound suggested all sorts of psychological fractures which of course explained its success in Spellbound.”(36) There was, perhaps, another, though unintended, and even more significant result of Hoffman’s work with Spellbound: “Whether Hoffman realized it or not, he had also given the general public its first popular dose of electronic music.”(37)

            What followed was an impressive resume of film credits over the next 13 years: Spellbound (1945), The Lost Weekend (1945), The Spiral Staircase (1946), The Red House (1947), The Pretender (1947), Let’s Live a Little (1948), Impact (1949), The Fountainhead (1949), Rocketship X-M (1950), Fancy Pants (1950), Let’s Dance (1950),  The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951), The Five Thousand Fingers of Dr. T (1953), It Came From Outer Space (1953), The Mad Magician (1954), The Day the World Ended (1955), Please Murder Me (1956),) The Ten Commandments (1956), The Delicate Delinquent (1957), Voodoo Island (1957), The Spider (Earth vs the Spider) (1958).(38)

            The most famous of these scores is Bernard Hermann’s music for The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951) whose instrumentation is as unorthodox for a movie score as Varese’s Ecuatorial was for concert music. The Day the Earth Stood Still is scored for violin, cello and string bass (all amplified), two space-controlled theremins (Hoffman and Paul Shore), two Hammond organs, a large studio electric organ, three vibraphones, two Glockenspiels, two pianos, two harps, three trumpets, three trombones and four tubas. This “comparatively modern, unconventional and experimental” film score captures the Machine Age in popular film very well. “On Hermann’s ‘Gort’, the motif is simply accompanied by theremin and slowly pounding drums. The isolation makes the motif far more menacing.”(39)

            It should be remembered that much of what made these soundtracks so effective was that the theremin was largely used idiomatically: the instrument was allowed to indulge in excessive vibrato and blatant portamento. Much of the time in these films the theremin doubled orchestral strings and so was not allowed to go too far a field tonally. This aspect of the instrument is unleashed, however, in “free-style” theremin performance.


“Free-Style” Thereminists: Eric Ross and Jean Michel Jarre (b. 1948)


            Some thereminists performing today continue along the trajectory instigated by composers such as Grainger and perform what I call “free-style” theremin. In “free-style” there often is no specific technique such as “aerial fingering,” in fact the players frequently make large, dramatic gestural motions within both sound fields, the “compositions” themselves take the form of free-improvisation, or if notated, may contain written instructions rather than traditional or even graphic notations. Two performers out of many will illustrate this performance practice.

            Eric Ross (no birth date found) (fig. 10) is a composer and performer on guitar, piano, synthesizers and

theremin, often simultaneously. He has appeared with guitar slung around his neck, keyboards at either hand

and a theremin in front  rapidly alternating musical events among the instruments in an unpredictable way as

he accompanies films by his video artist wife Mary. Ross’ theremin playing emphasizes the idiomatic “noises”

and uncontrollable aspects of the instrument. He appears at major jazz festivals such as at Montreux, Newport

and Berlin and instructs and lectures widely in universities in the United States and Europe as well as teaching

at theremin festivals.(40) Ross has this to say about his compositions:

                                        My own scores for the theremin combine traditional notation with modern notational

                                        adaptations and written directions (figs. 11 & 12). If the players can improvise well, I

                                        leave space for them to be creative within the context of the piece. In these ‘directed

                                        improvisations,’ I provide guidelines and allow the players room to express their own

                                        ideas to enhance the music.(41)


            Jean Michel Jarre (fig. 13) is known for his outdoor festival “monster concerts” of rock,

electronic, New Age and ambient music. He sometimes uses instruments with a visually dramatic

flare, such as his “laser harp.” In his Oxygen Moscow concert video from 1997,(42) Jarre performs part

of piece on an RCA model theremin. The beginning of the music being a “spacey” New Age electronic

soundscape, Jarre appropriately gesticulates wildly before the theremin’s antennas making the contin-

uous pitch slide up and down erratically and never settling on an “in-tune” fixed pitch: the ideal free

music performance.


Into the Future


            An extended version of this paper would ideally

cover in greater depth than this paper other contempor-

ary “classically trained” thereminists such as the virtuoso

Lydia Kavina (b. 1967) and her virtuoso student Carolina

Eyck (b. 1987). Kavina (fig. 14), a Russian, is second cousin

to Leon Theremin himself. Her repertoire includes the

Schillinger, Martinu, Varese, and Grainger pieces men-

tioned above as well as more contemporary works by

Jorge Antunes (“Mixolydia” for theremin and tape (1995))

and John Appleton (“Lydia” for theremin and string

quartet (2005)). Many of these appear on CD. Her own

compositions sometimes feature a mixture of traditional

notation and modern notation.

            Eyck is a German, and as with Kavina,

is a professional thereminist who concertizes around

the world. A recent CD features both transcriptions

(Faure, Rachmaninoff, Massenet and Debussy) and

new music (Rebecca Clarke, Lars-Erik Larsson).(43)

Further research would be needed to accurately categorize these performers and their repertoire.

            Ensembles of theremins are in existence but need to be actively sought out as they are generally not well

known. A German ensemble called ICEM Theremin Ensemble plays contemporary electronic soundscapes using effects

devises to alter the traditional theremin sound. It is impossible at this time to know with certainty how they notate their

music, but a listening to their video performances online suggests that graphic notation, if any, might be used.(44) Cer-

tainly most traditional conventions of performance practice are absent.

            A mention of my own Etherphonic Theremin Ensemble (fig. 15) would be fitting at this point as well. Specializing

in massed, microtonal events notated graphically (fig. 16), the ETE is a direct continuation of the aesthetics embodied in

Percy Grainger’s “Free Music No. 1” and is the direct precursor to the Etherphonic Theremin Orchestra whose site we find 

ourselves on now.

            Some thereminists may be much closer to the Machine Age aesthetic than others. According to his website (45)

Ray Lee’s The Robotic Theremin Ensemble features four theremins, three robots and one human controlling mechanical

interactions with real theremins. The Machine Age has come full circle indeed.





1. Albert Glinsky, Theremin: Ether Music and Espionage (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2000), 294-5.


2. “Theme From Star Trek,” from_Star_Trek

 (accessed December 10, 2011).


3. “Treehouse of Horror (series),”

Horror_(series)(accessed December 10, 2011).

4. Carol J Oja, Making Music Modern (New York: Oxford University Press, 2000), 64.

5. Glinsky, 72.

6. Ibid., 116.

7. Glinsky, 69.

8. Ibid., 35.

9. Michael Beckerman. “Electronica from the 1920s Ready for Sampling,” The New York Times, Aug. 11, 2003: E3, ProQuest, docview/93021262?accountid=14553 (accessed Nov. 9, 2011).


10. Glinsky, 107.


11.Olin Downes. “Glazounoff Draws A Rising Tribute: Russian Conducts His Own Works Before Notable Audience at Metropolitan,” The New York Times, Dec.4,

1929:34, ProQuest, docview/104707132?accountid

=14553 (accessed Nov. 9, 2011).


12. Music from the Ether-Original Works for Theremin, CD liner notes by Olivia Mattis (Mode Records, 1999).


13. Glinsky, 161-162.


14. Music from the Ether-Original Works for Theremin, CD liner notes by Olivia Mattis (Mode Records, 1999).


15. Bohuslav Martinu, Fantasy for theremin, oboe, piano and string quartet (Paris: Editions Max Eschig, 1973).


16. John Haussermann, Serenade for theremin and piano. (unpublished score available University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana Music and Performing Arts Library, acquired 1981).


17. Noel Straus. “Lucie Rosen Plays Newest Theremin: Town Hall Recital Includes Premier of ‘Serenade’ by John Haussermann Jr.,’” New York Times, Mar. 27, 1944: 17, ProQuest, (accessed Nov. 9, 2011).


18. Glinsky, 249

19. Glinsky, 141-142.


20. Ibid., 143.

21. Clara Rockmore: The World’s Greatest Theremin Virtuosa, DVD (Moog Music, 2010).


22. Ibid.


23. Glinsky, 160.

24. Glinsky, 251.


25. Theremin: an Electronic Odyssey, DVD (MGM, 1993).

26. Glinsky, 67.


27. Ibid., 251.


28. H.T. “Lucie Bigelow Rosen Heard.” The New York Times, Feb. 1, 1938: 18, ProQuest, (accessed Nov. 9, 2011).

29. Pierre Boulez/ New York Philharmonic, Ensemble Conttemporain, Carter: A Symphony of Three Orchestras, Varese: Deserts, Equatorial, Hyperprism, CD (Sony Classical, 1995).


30. Glinsky, 123.


31. Ibid., 252.

32. John Bird, Percy Grainger (London: Paul Elek, 1976), 283.


33. Ibid., 284.


34. Ibid., 284.

35. Music from the Ether, CD (Mode Records, 1999).


36. Russell Lack, Twenty Four Frames Under: A Buried History of Film Music (London: Quartet Books, 1997), 138.

37. Glinsky, 254.


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Quartet Books, 1997.


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Visionary. Woodbridge, Suffolk: The Boydell Press, 2006.


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Before Notable Audience at Metropolitan.” The New York Times, Dec.4,

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9, 2011).


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Figure 1: Leon Theremin

Figure 2: Lucie Rosen

Figure 3. A page from “Serenade” for theremin and piano (1944) by John Haussermann

Figure 4: Clara Rockmore

Figure 6: Fingerboard theremin

Figure 5: Carolina Eyck’s “aerial fingering” positions

Figure 7: A page from Ecuatorial (1932-34) by Edgard Varese

Figure 10: Eric Ross

Figure 11: Discrete pitch notation in “Passage for Theremin” (Op. 53) (2001) by Eric Ross

Figure 12: An example of  graphic music and descriptive instructions in “Passage for Theremin” (Op. 53) (2001) by Eric Ross

Figure 13: Jean Michel Jarre

Figure 14: Lydia Kavina

Figure 15: Etherphonic Theremin Ensemble (Allen Wu, B.r. Morse, Joel Plutchak, Ethan Schreiber

Figure 16: A page from B.r. Morse's "Textures & Techniques" for multiple theremins (2010)

Figure 9: Dr. Samuel Hoffman

Figure 8: A page from Free Music No. 1 (1935) by Percy Grainger

Copyright 2017 by B.R. Morse All Rights Reserved

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