The theremin is one of the earliest electronic musical instruments, and the first musical instrument played without being touched (originally pronounced [ˈteremin] but often anglicized as IPA: /ˈθɛrəmɪn/, theramin, or thereminvox, it is also known as an aetherphone.) It was invented by Russian inventor Léon Theremin (Russian: Лев Сергеевич Термен) in 1919. The controlling section usually consists of two metal antennas which sense the position of the player's hands and control radio frequency oscillator(s) for frequency with one hand, and volume with the other. The electric signals from the theremin are amplified and sent to a loudspeaker. The theremin is an electrophone, a subset of the quintephone family.
To play, the player moves his hands around the antennas, controlling frequency (pitch) and amplitude (volume). The theremin is associated with "alien", surreal, and eerie-sounding portamento, glissando, tremolo, and vibrato sounds, due to its use in soundtracks such as Spellbound, The Lost Weekend, 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. John Otway regularly uses a Theremin in his performances, as does Claudio Sanchez of Coheed and Cambria while playing guitar. Jean Michel Jarre also used it on his album Oxygène.
Leon Theremin playing his own instrument