Today’s Google Doodle is quite a distinct one as it is a game where you are taught music by a black and white cartoon of Clara Rockmore. It’s a short memory game, presented in a black and white, art deco styled graphics, which simulates Rockmore teaching users how to play the theremin, a little-known instrument that makes today’s popular music possible.

Rockmore was trained from a young age as a violinist, but had to quit due to physical strain. But, as Rockmore didn’t want to give music, she began to play the theremin, a gesture controlled instrument named after its inventor, Leon Theremin. Rockmore became the instrument’s most well-known performer and influenced its development, convincing Theremin to make the instrument more responsive and to expand the instrument’s range.

The doodle was created by Robinson Wood with interaction designer Kevin Burke and engineers Will Knowles and Kris Hom. Manuel Clement worked on the sound effects. Since the theremin works with one hand controlling pitch and the other controlling volume, they created an interactive module where a point of light controls volume and pitch.

Knowles emphasized that they wanted to make sure that the sound quality resembled Rockmore’s own playing.

“To accomplish this,” explained Knowles, “we worked with the Chrome WebAudio team and theremin expert Mark Goldstein to create smooth sliding between frequencies and scaling vibrato to simulate her masterful play style.

Once players finish the game they can play whatever tunes they want to, able to adjust the key, scale, octave, and waveform.

Although the type of music she played was uncommon, Rockmore performed as a soloist with the New York Philarmonic, the Philadelphia Orchestra, and the Toronto Symphony. She was the pioneer of electronic music, as this lesser-known instrument is said to inspire the synthesizer which is the integral sound in today’s popular EDM music, and today Google celebrates her 105th birthday.

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