The theremin is an electronic musical instrument controlled without physical contact by the thereminist (performer). It is named after its inventor, Leon Theremin, who patented the device in 1928. The instrument’s controlling section usually consists of two metal antennas that sense the relative position of the thereminist’s hands and control oscillators for frequency with one hand, and amplitude (volume) with the other. The electric signals from the theremin are amplified and sent to a loudspeaker.
The First Theremin Concert for Extraterrestrials was the world’s first musical METI broadcast dispatched from the Evpatoria deep-space communications complex in Crimea, and was sent seven years before NASA’s Across the Universe message. Seven different melodies were transmitted from audio-cassette recordings of the theremin being played by Lydia Kavina, Yana Aksenova, and Anton Kerchenko, all from the Moscow Theremin Center. These seven melodies were:
“Egress alone I to the Ride” by E. Shashina
The finale of the 9th Symphony by Beethoven
The Four Seasons: Spring, “Allegro” by Vivaldi
“The Swan” by Saint-Saens
“Vocalise” by Rachmaninoff
“Summertime” by Gershwin
Russian folk song “Kalinka-Malinka”
They were played in succession six times over the span of three days from August–September 2001 during the transmission of Teen Age Message, an interstellar radio message.