I first heard of the Theramin during a class in my undergraduate studies when another group of students decided to build one for their end-of-class project. I didn’t think much else on this hands-free musical instrument until recently when I had some down time in my graduate studies and decided to do a bit of research on a project to kick winter off until it was warm enough for another hike.
I found a schematic based on the original design on the internet (these days, most folks are abandoning the pitch and volume antennas in favor of optical sensors and microcontrollers), pulled from an early 1996 issue of Electronic Musician magazine, which is still in print as of this posting. The article itself was a nice read, not only detailing the construction of the Theramin including tuning and playing tips for those that take on the challenge of this build themselves, but also providing a bit of the history and theory of this instrument that dates back to 1928. After placing my order with my favorite online electronics component provider, I anxiously awaited for my package to arrive, passing the time by hunting for a partner in crime with which to build this project.
The build went well for the most part, though I found myself wanting to build another custom PCB since the perf board soldering was pretty time consuming. After completing the circuit (and a few hours of debugging) I was ready to tune it up and start practicing.