TOKYO: Japan’s musicians have set a new world record for the biggest number of players on the theremin - the musical instrument used without being touched.

In the central city of Hamamatsu, 272 people performed at a concert. It was organised by Masami Takeuchia, who learnt to play the theremin in Russia - where it was invented almost 100 years ago by Leon Theremin.

A spokeswoman for Guinness World Records confirmed that the orchestra was the biggest ever theremin ensemble. As well as producing an ethereal if not eerie sound, Saturday’s concert was also an amazing sight.

Theremins are usually box-shaped, but the workings of these particular ones were contained inside small Russian dolls. Their bright colours were in stark contrast to the all-black outfits of the performers, who were sitting in long rows with a conductor on stage.

The theremin is one of the world’s most unusual instruments. Its antenna sends out electromagnetic waves and the pitch the instrument produces is changed by moving your hand to and from it. –BBC

The sound of the theremin is most familiar from Hitchcock and science fiction soundtracks, and a version features on Good Vibrations by The Beach Boys. The original instrument was tried out by the Soviet leader Vladimir Lenin in 1922 during an audience with Leon Theremin. BBC