Unease, tension and the Beach Boys
Anyone who owns an iPhone will be no stranger to the broad variety of ‘apps’ available, ranging from games to weather reports to mini DAWs. One of the more interesting new software instruments for iPhone is the Theremin app created by Kingsley Sage.
A hardware Theremin is played without physical contact: the distance of the player’s hands from two antennae controls volume and pitch. The instrument is associated with scenes of unease and tension in vintage science fiction and horror films, as well as the Beach Boys’ hit ‘Good Vibrations’.
The iPhone version plays a continuously variable wave form (any wave from square to sawtooth) that can be pitch-shifted by tilting the phone. There is also a basic delay included and display of the note that your current tone is closest to. The app requires iPhone OS 2.2 or later to run, and costs 59p.
iPhone owners should be sure to check out the Apple Notes column of our February 2010 issue, for a round up of some of the best musical iPhone apps.