Therolin at Burning Man 2017

From the artists who brought you Awakening , Tree of Transformation , and Tree of Impermanence ,  our 2017 Burning Man project is a new type of interactive musical experience: Welcome the Therolin.

Project Summary
The Therolin is a revolutionary idea for a new type of large scale musical instrument.  By pairing a 20 foot long piano string suspended in a steel pipe to a theremin , the Therolin will convert the musical output from the theremin into notes played on the string by "plucking" it with electomagnet actuators on specially engineered frets. 

Therolin project rendering

Traditionally a theremin responds to the hand movements of its player to create electronic sounds, but now Therolin players will use it to play a giant stringed instrument, creating a physical sound in lieu of the traditional synthesized sound.

This year the artist/engineers are creating this out of love and without receiving an official art grant, so your help is needed more than ever.  Your donatin, small or large, will help to make the next generation of musical instrument a reality.

Artist/Engineer Nick Geurts plasma cuts the base to Therolin

Physical Description
The Therolin consists of a single 20 foot long piece of 10 inch diameter stainless steel pipe that emerges from the ground at a shallow angle. The end of the pipe is approximately 5'-6" off of the ground. As you approach, you will notice that there is a pedestal located near the end of the pipe which has a theramin antenna built in. Looking down the pipe you will see a continuous strand of piano wire along its centerline, and a series of supports (or frets) and electromagnetic coils.

Artist/Engineer Ryan Elmendorf looks over the inner core of Therolin

Alexandra Stepanoff playing the theremin on NBC Radio, 1930

"If you want to find the secrets of the universe, think in terms of energy, frequency and vibration."
-Nikola Tesla

Funding and Rewards:
Please consider making a donation to our project to help defray the cost of it's creation. Money is needed for materials, time, and transportation to and from Burning Man. Because this piece is 20 feet in length and is made of steel it will need to travel on a semi. We are grateful for the ongoing support of our community.

ALL DONORS at any level will receive a sticker with the project logo and a thank you postcard mailed from the Black Rock City post office (dust included).


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  • Kim Lundeen 
    • $100 
    • 43 mos
  • Pat Scatena 
    • $25 
    • 43 mos
  • clark richert 
    • $50 
    • 43 mos
  • Mary Peck 
    • $25 
    • 43 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • $100 
    • 43 mos
See all

Organizer and beneficiary

Valerie Santerli 
Denver, CO
Ryan Elmendorf 
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