#TBT From the Archive: Brian E.F. Oakes's Theremin

The trembling voice of the Theremin carries us through THEREMIN: OUT OF THE ETHER, a short film by Brian E.F. Oakes. This four-minute animation has no dialogue, yet we learn a lot about the Russian-born inventor of the instrument. A Theremin is one of the precursors of electronic music instruments. It is like a harp, except without strings and activated by motion—playing it requires a sort of dance.

Leon Theremin was interested in dance and created another instrument named the Terpsitone that reacted with light and sound to a dancer’s movements. The Terpsitone is also featured in the film. Brian E.F. Oakes received a Sloan Production Award in 2000 to make THEREMIN: OUT OF THE ETHER, which is available to stream here in its entirety. Oakes is a graduate of the University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts.

On February 13, 2016 the Museum of the Moving Image will screen MAN WITH A MOVIE CAMERA accompanied by a live Theremin performance.