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Moog donates electronic instrument to Communications
Monday, December 10, 2007

Leon Theremin playing the Theremin

Leon Theremin, above, with his invention, circa 1919. The Theremin is widely associated with "alien," surreal, and eerie-sounding sounds, and has been used in film soundtracks such as Spellbound, The Lost Weekend, Ed Wood, Mars Attacks! and The Day the Earth Stood Still. Theremins are also used in art music (especially avant-garde and 20th century "new music") and in popular music genres such as rock and pop.

Moog Music, Inc. has donated a Theremin to the Department of Communication at SUNY Fredonia through the efforts of Communication/Audio-Radio major Christopher Rosebrough of Jackson, Tennessee.

Chris visited the Moog Music factory in Asheville, N.C. recently, and Assistant Professor Laura Johnson noted that thanks to his interest in audio and the Moog Music company, plant manager Mike Peio donated the Theremin to the department for use in class and in audio projects.

Dr. Johnson noted the Theremin is the oldest electronic musical instrument, created nearly 90 years ago by Leon Theremin, a Russian inventor. Dr. Robert Moog, the founder of Moog Music, was one of the leading innovators in the world of electronic music. His invention of the Moog Synthesizer changed the world of music. Dr. Johnson noted that many still remember the album "Switched On Bach" that was released in the late 1960s. It was the best known of the recordings that utilized the Moog Synthesizer.

She added that the Theremin is unusual because the performer doesn't touch the instrument in order to play it. Though many people do not recognize the Theremin, its sound is familiar through science fiction movies and popular songs such as The Beach Boy’s standard, "Good Vibrations." The Theremin is still popular today and used by several bands. Dr. Johnson noted, “I am very grateful to Mike Peio, Moog Music and Chris Rosebrough for making this gift to the communication department possible."

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