Tag Archives: theremin

Beep-It Adds Music to Light


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Beep-it is an electronic musical instrument that responds to light. Beep-it shifts pitch and tone based on how much light is available, making it an analog optical theremin. By casting shadows and reducing available light to sensors inside Beep-it, or by passing it closer to a light source at varying speeds, you can dramatically alter the pitch of sounds coming from the device.

Michael Una describes his creation in fairly easy terms:

One button turns the device on or off, which can produce a continuous tone or a rhythmic sequence. One sensor varies pitch of the output waveform in response to ambient light. The resulting system encourages playfulness and body movement.

I’m not sure if this little gadget is annoying or enlightening, but it’s definitely fun. I read about this on some gadget blog or another and had to try it for myself. I just need to push a button and listen as I move closer to (or further away from) any object with light. You’d think it has to do with the distance to light, but that’s not the full story.

Perhaps you’re a performance artist who wants a completely different sound and style. The Beep-it would be perfect for you! Wow your audience and amaze your own friends each time you grab this magical box. You can plug the Beep-it into an amp by way of a simple jack. Magnify your sound a bajillion times.

I’m an easy-to-please gadget geek. I don’t always have to have the latest and greatest product on the market to be happy. I like the simple things in life, such as the Beep-it. Devices aren’t only meant to make your life easier – they’re also about having fun. I admit it – I find toys such as this to be very fun. I’m addicted to making music with gizmos!

Is the Theremin a Musical Instrument?


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This is the Thereminator for the iPhone. You can find it in the App Store. The interface isn’t so hot looking, but it sounds great. Simply drag your finger across the field, and you have a Theremin. You can change wavelengths and much more.

Theremin is an oscillator-based instrument controlled by gesture, invented by Leon Theremin in 1919. Commonly regarded as the first synthesizer, it works by the principle of additive synthesis, where the output from a fixed oscillator is mixed with a VFO. The VFO is controlled by the amount of capacitance in the circuit, which in turn is controlled by the distance of the musician’s hand from a dedicated antenna. Another antenna is provided in most versions to control the volume.

Thereminator is a theremin simulator for the iPhone, controlled by touch. Very simply put, the user controls pitch by moving the finger horizontally (right hand on the traditional theremin), while adjusting the volume moving the finger up and down. It provides four basic waveforms and two sound effects to slightly expand on the standard theremin. Additionally, it has scroll and zoom features to control frequency range and resolution.

It’s a lot of fun, and addictive. It’s only $3.00 in the AppStore, so well worth the money. Spend hours annoying your friends, and enjoying yourself!

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