This guy plays a Debussy classic on a theremin and it sounds surprisingly sublime

22 November 2016, 11:53

debussy theremin

By Amy MacKenzie

No, there aren’t tiny hidden strings. No, it’s not an optical illusion. No, he’s not just waving his hands aimlessly.

This unusual looking instrument (yes, it’s an instrument) is called a theremin and in this video the talented teenager Grégoire Blanc somehow manages to transform the eerie sound into a fascinating and futuristic performance of Claude Debussy’s Clair de Lune. 

‘How on earth does it work?’ we hear you ask. The theremin is an early electronic instrument developed in the late 1920s which uses two metal antennas, oscillators, and the thereminist’s hands to control the frequency (pitch) and amplitude (volume) of notes, and these electronic signals are sent to a loudspeaker. You’re still following, right?

debussy theremin

You may think this is all totally bonkers, however the sound of the theremin is a strangely popular one, featuring in many movie soundtracks and the popular TV drama Midsomer Murders. 

Classic FM Apps

Get the Classic FM app for iPhone, iPad and Android - now with HD audio

rune brodahl horn player

Joyous: this horn player absolutely lets rip during a ballet performance

Backstreet Boys in the style of Bach

The Backstreet Boys' 'I Want It That Way' in the style of a Bach Allemande

Sunshine

Quiz: Answer these questions and we'll tell you what your ultimate summer banger is