Beethoven’s Ode to Joy Played With 167 Theremins Placed Inside Matryoshka Dolls in Japan

Props go to Men­tal Floss for com­ing up with this unex­pect­ed find. Back in 2011, in Tokyo, 167 musi­cians per­formed some clas­sic Beethoven with the “Matry­omin,” a new-fan­gled instru­ment that lodges a theremin inside a matryosh­ka. A matryosh­ka, of course, is one of those Russ­ian nest­ed dolls where you find wood­en dolls of decreas­ing size placed one inside the oth­er. As for the theremin, it’s a cen­tu­ry-old elec­tron­ic musi­cal instru­ment that requires no phys­i­cal con­tact from the play­er. You can watch its inven­tor, Leon Theremin, give it a demo in the vin­tage video below. And via these links you can see the Matry­omin Ensem­ble per­form­ing ver­sions of Amaz­ing Grace and Mem­o­ry of Rus­sia.

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Relat­ed Con­tent:

Sovi­et Inven­tor Léon Theremin Shows Off the Theremin, the Ear­ly Elec­tron­ic Instru­ment That Could Be Played With­out Being Touched (1954)

New Order’s “Blue Mon­day” Played with Obso­lete 1930s Instru­ments

Watch Jimi Hendrix’s ‘Voodoo Chile’ Per­formed on a Gayageum, a Tra­di­tion­al Kore­an Instru­ment

The Talk­ing Heads’ “This Must Be the Place (Naive Melody)” Per­formed on Tra­di­tion­al Chi­nese Instru­ments

Pak­istani Musi­cians Play Amaz­ing Ver­sion of Dave Brubeck’s Jazz Clas­sic, “Take Five”


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Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.