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Marc Chouarain On Pulling Music Out Of Thin Air

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Multi-instrumentalist, film composer and rare instrument enthusiast, Marc Chouarain, teaches Talia Schlanger how to play the Theremin.
Lesya Matsko, Courtesy of the artist

Multi-instrumentalist, film composer and rare instrument enthusiast, Marc Chouarain, teaches Talia Schlanger how to play the Theremin.

There may be more theremins than pieces of furniture in Marc Chouarain's apartment on the classic Parisian street Rue Montorgeil. The multi-instrumentalist, film composer and rare instrument enthusiast believes he has one of the biggest theremin collections in the world and invited us over to learn about the the very first electronic instrument.

The theremin was invented in 1920 by scientist Lev Sergeyevich Termen, also known as Léon Theremin, and was originally used in very serious classical contexts before it came to signify plot twists in sci-fi films. To play the theremin, you don't touch the instrument itself, but rather manipulate the electromagnetic fields it creates. As Marc explains, it's "like pinching a string in the air." While that may sound like magic, it involves an incredible amount of musicality and control, which I learned as Chouarain gave me my first lesson.

Hear it all in the player.

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