A Brief History of the Theremin, An Eerie-Sounding Early Electronic Instrument That Gave Rise to the Synthesizer

Engineer Guy Bill Hammack offers some insight into the birth of the theremin, an eerie-sounding electronic instrument created by Russian inventor Leon Theremin that helped give birth to the synthesizer — after winding up in the hands of musical pioneer Robert Moog.

He brought two parts of the radio close together so they made a sound like the squeal from bringing a microphone too close to speaker. This propelled him, in his own words, “to give [these sounds] a musical soul.”