Christian Long

Pamelia Kurstin: Plays the Theramin

In TED Talks on April 12, 2010 at 9:17 pm

Reflection by KATHERINE H.

Original TED page w/ speaker bio, links, comments, etc:

Pamelia Kurstin:  Plays the Theramin

Have you ever heard of a theremin?

No, me neither.

The theremin was invented by Leon Theremin in the 1920’s by experimenting with radio waves. I was given this video without my knowledge, at first I was not excited to say the least. I had decided I didn’t like it before I even gave it a chance to impress me.

However after I heard the beautiful music coming from my headphones, I was shocked to see that it was coming from this video.

Though mostly music, this video inspired me to be more open minded about things that might be stereotyped without knowledge. I’m glad to have had this experience, to just have a video chosen at random prove me completely wrong. Its as if it were serendipity that this video pop up on my list, I am grateful to have the opportunity to experience the stylings of Pamelia Kurstin.

By adjusting her left hand’s placement from the antenna she controls the pitch, the closer she gets the higher the note goes. She controls the volume with her right hand, moving it closer and farther as well; the farther away the louder the noise gets. The theremin relates to your mood, body, and its control; no matter how hard you try, the theremin will always prove sensitive to your body’s willingness to adjust, coordinate, and be aware of the next sounds.

Pamelia explains that she plays at clubs, even rock concerts. An instrument with such diverse genre should be much more appreciated, though it remains without much recognition. Pamelia features songs, “Lush Life” and “Listen: The words are Gone”, each one is a duet with a pianist beautifully played with Pamelia controlling each note so naturally.


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