Matryoshka dolls are already more than they seem, simply because each exquisite dolls contains another, smaller doll. But in Japan some of these nesting dolls have an even bigger secret: their inner dolls have been replaced with electronics, turning them into some of the cutest, strangest theramins we’ve ever seen called the Matryomin QT. Designed by Japanese thereminist Masami Takeuchi, each handmade Matryoshka contains a miniature pitch-only theramin. No two instruments are exactly alike.
A group of talented musicians in Japan, the Matryomin ensemble, have mastered this unusual instrument and use it to perform familiar pieces of music that sound like nothing you’ve ever heard when played on little wooden dolls. What’s more, because they don’t actually need to touch the Matryomin in order to play them, they all look like magicians conjuring up unearthly sounds out of the air. Here you can watch them perform Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy”: