Google celebrates theremin player Clara Rockmore's 105th birthday with musical game doodles
By FnF Correspondent | PUBLISHED: 09, Mar 2016, 10:45 am IST | UPDATED: 09, Mar 2016, 10:51 am IST
Commemorating the 105th birthday of theremin virtuoso performer, Clara Rockmore, Google has posted an interactive musical doodle today on its homepage.
Born in 1911, Rockmore was trained as a violinist, but later gave up the instrument due to physical strain and took up theremin - a gesture-controlled musical instrument named after its creator Léon Theremin.
The instrument is also said to be the world's first electronic music instrument and first instrument that could be played without being touched.
Rockmore not only became a star performer of theremin but also contributed to the development of the instrument. She convinced the creator that the instrument should be made more responsive and offer a greater range of notes; from 3 to 5 octaves.
Doodled by artist Robinson Wood, interaction designer Kevin Burke, and engineers Will Knowles and Kris Hom, in collaboration with the Doodle engineering team, the interactive doodle translates the movement of hands used to the theremin—one hand controlling pitch and the other volume—to an interactive module, where a point of light controls volume and pitch.
To get the sound quality right, the team worked with theremin expert Mark Goldstein to create smooth sliding between frequencies and scaling vibrato to simulate Rockmore's masterful play style. The overall theme of the doodle too has been kept in accordance with the period Rockmore played in.
The Google Doodle version of the theremin translates the two hand movement into an interative white light that controls the pitch and volume. Moving the light upwards increases the volume and moving it to the left and right switches notes.
The Doodle team worked with sound designer Manuel Clement and the Chome WebAudio team to create a "smooth sliding between frequencies and scaling vibrato," said Will Knowles, a Google engineer. A total of 12 Googlers worked on the commemorative piece.
Today's interactive doodle is musical game that teaches you to play the right notes by hovering the cursor over the notes.