Guinness World Records is serious business – the officials even have blazers. Back in July of 2013 in Hamamatsu, Shizuoka Prefecture, Japan, 272 musicians set out to create the world’s largest theremin ensemble. For those who don’t know, the theremin is an electronic instrument that is played by manually manipulating (in the air around the device) a radio frequency that’s broadcast from two antennae – one controlling pitch of the sound and one controlling the volume. The apparatuses are generally connected to a monitor as well as an amp.
For whatever reason, these things are popular in Japan. There, they have a type of theremin that is a matryomin, a name that’s a cross between matryoshka, a Russian nesting doll, and a theremin. The electronic components in these devices are tucked neatly into an adorable doll-box.
Theremins have been used since the 1920s to produce surreal, eerie effects in many different kinds of music. To my ear, it sounds a little like a morose, muted type of humming. For the world record attempt, the largest ever theremin ensemble chose Amazing Grace:
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