Turning a C64 into a Theremin

Not really retro computing but cool. Using a C64 as an actual Theremin.


The Theremin is one of the earliest electronic instruments. It’s played by moving one’s hands in front of two antennas: One controls pitch and the other controls volume.

Electronically, the instrument works by monitoring the capacitance between its antennas and Earth and detecting the small increase that occurs when a human moves closer. The amount of extra capacitance is inversely proportional to the distance.

I used a C64, two 555s, four resistors, a spoon, and a clamp to build a working Theremin. In the video I try to explain how it works in layman’s terms. What follows below is a more thorough description for those who want to dig deeper.

Video on YouTube


Everything Linus does is amazing.

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