Take A Virtual Lesson From Theremin Virtuoso Clara Rockmore

March 9, 2016
Photo: Clara Rockmore Doodle screengrab(Photo: Google screengrab)
Google's Doodle celebrating Clara Rockmore.

Google shared a Rockmore-themed Google Doodle today to give users a sense of what it's like to play the instrument, which inventor Leon Theremin created in 1919. A cartoon version of Rockmore -- standing before a period art-deco backdrop -- guides her student through the opening notes of Camille Saint-Saens' "The Swan."

The theremin is a uniquely unwieldy instrument. A player controls the instrument's pitch and volume by moving her hands without actually touching the theremin during a performance. Rockmore died in 1998 but continues to be the theremin's best-known player. 

After you practice with Google's simulation, compare your progress to this footage of Rockmore herself playing "The Swan":

The tribute to Rockmore comes a day after a Google celebrated International Women's Day with a video featuring music by composer and tUnE-yArDs singer Merrill Garbus.

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