Some things are just made to appeal to weirdy beardy nerds. Take the 'musical' instrument invented by the Russian nutter Leon Theremin in 1919 for example. I say musical, but anyone who has ever listened to the sounds coming from this truly bizarre combining of metal antennae and the hands of the player will probably agree that an old saw is just as melodic. The instrument in question was used one hand to control the frequency and one for volume. It's all very clever stuff, I guess, if watching someone move their arms around like a bad magician on a bad trip while producing sounds suitable for use in bad sci-fi b movies and precious little else are produced, is your definition of clever.

Wikipedia handily informs me that the theremin belongs to a subset of the quintephone family known as the electrophone. Perhaps that is why someone took it upon themselves to transfer this pointless technology onto a subset of the smartphone family known as the iPhone.

That someone being an outfit called Leisuresonic which has made the new version of the old instrument available via the App Store in the form of the Cosmovox. This uses the built-in accelerometer of the iPhone to reproduce the sound control of the theremin. So as you move it one way you get one awful pitch changing noise, and rotate it the other for a variation on the same theme.

"Cosmovox can convincingly imitate the sound of the Theremin" the company says proudly. But you know what, I really would not use that as any kind of sales pitch, personally speaking. It "gives you the power to perform with more than 30 different musical scales" the company continues. Well whoopy doo, I respond. In fact, I am amazed that Apple did not think of this as a standard feature of the iPhone. Who knows, maybe in the iPhone 4G?

Luckily for Leisuresonic, some are more excited about all this than me. Brett Terpstra gets positively animated in his description which includes such classic lines as "it's a theremin hopped up on music-theory steroids" or how about "it does a decent job of emulating first-gen Star Trek sounds."

Yes, it only costs a couple of bucks. No, it isn't meant to be taken too seriously. Yes, you can explore the 30 different musical scales in case such an ability was missing from your pocket. But as Terpstra has to concede "I found it too difficult to really make music with it."

"Wikipedia handily informs me that the theremin belongs to a subset of the quintephone family known as the electrophone. Perhaps that is why someone took it upon themselves to transfer this pointless technology onto a subset of the smartphone family known as the iPhone."

This is totally hilarious! Any publicity is golden and your wit only makes it better. =)

I can't stand the trombone either, in case you were thinking of creating an iPhone version of that as well :)

Dear Davey,
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HSBReO4MOo4
Unlike you, Clara not only was one of the greatest natural musical talents who ever lived, but she also had excellent manners and didn't go around trash talking others, even though her superior skills put her in a position to be able to. The Theremin is a beautiful instrument when not in the hands of a tyrant. Leon Theremin was one of the great geniuses of all time, lived a very painful life, and doesn't deserve your derision.

Oh, and I was able to play a recognizeable tune on Cosmovox within a minute of downloading it, despite that it's obviously a toy rather than serious music software, and that I have no special musical abilities.

Can you get a tune out of a hosepipe with a funnel on the end as well?