Jaw-Dropping Theremin Performance Of ‘Flight Of The Bumblebee’

Sunday Synth Jam: Thereminist Carolina Eyck shared this performance of Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov‘s The Flight Of The Bumblebee, arranged for theremin and piano. Eyck is joined in the performance by pianist Christopher Tarnow.

The performance will be jaw-dropping to many people familiar with the theremin and traditional theremin repertoire, which tends to be glissando (gliding smoothly from pitch to pitch) and legato (moving from note to note without breaks). 

The Flight Of The Bumblebee demands exactly the opposite: a whirlwind of fast, staccato notes. And Eyck delivers – using an Earthquaker Devices Hummingbird tremolo effects pedal, which can do traditional tremolo effects or, as heard here, rhythmic chopping of the sound’s volume.

It’s a clever solution technically. While it’s easy to imagine adding a volume pad that you could tap percussively to achieve this type of effect under direct control, this type of approach stays true to the idea of the theremin being a touchless instrument. But it’s also an interesting performance musically, staking claim to new territory for theremin performance.