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4 Feb, 2016 19:37

Russian doll symphony: Musicians ‘play’ matryoshkas (VIDEO)

Russian doll symphony: Musicians ‘play’ matryoshkas (VIDEO)

Japanese artists are embracing Russian culture in an extraordinary way: playing the traditional wooden doll-within-a-doll matryoshka toy as a musical instrument.

Yes, you read that right, a group of musicians play the dolls as musical instruments.

So what’s the trick?

The dolls have a one-antenna theremin inside them. The theremin, invented by a Russian named – you guessed it, Theremin – is an early electronic musical instrument controlled by moving your hand towards or away from the circuit.

The name of this hybrid doll instrument is a combination of matrioshka and theremin – the matryomin.

Although the product is Russian to its core, it took a Japanese man to invent it. Masami Takeuchi, a prominent theremin player, launched the product through his company Mandarin Electron in 2003, and subsequently set up Matryomin ensembles which are proving a growing trend.

In September last year 27 musicians from Mandarin Electron played in the concert hall of the St. Petersburg Institute of Technology. Back in 2013, the Matryomin ensemble set the Guinness world record for the "largest theremin ensemble", with 273 players taking part.

And if you think your eyes are deceiving you, they’re not – the musicians are using stethoscopes so they can hear their individual sounds when playing in an ensemble: