Video of the Day: Theme To Star Trek: TNG’s “The Inner Light” Played On A Theremin |
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Video of the Day: Theme To Star Trek: TNG’s “The Inner Light” Played On A Theremin November 18, 2010

by Anthony Pascale , Filed under: Fandom,Music,TNG,Viral Video/Mashup/Images , trackback

Our video of the day is a musical interlude from a fan who has recorded his version of the theme from the fan favorite episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation "The Inner Light" on a Theremin. Check it out below.


The Inner Theremin

The popular Star Trek: The Next Generation  episode "The Inner Light" has one of the more memorable themes, originally composed by Jay Chattaway. This week musician and Trek fan Peter Pringle has posted a YouTube video of his rendition of the theme, using a Moog Ethervox Theremin, all against a spacey background. The result is something pretty cool…check it out.

If you want to learn more about the Theremin, Pringle sells a “How To Play The Theremin” DVD on his site.

More Star Trek Theremin fun

Here is a video from last year, with a Trekkie (inserted into a transporter room) performing Alexander Courage’s theme to Star Trek on a theremin.



1. Matt Wiley - November 18, 2010


2. gingerly - November 18, 2010

The theremin is my favorite instrument. :)

3. Smack Callahan - November 18, 2010




4. Capt Mike of the Terran Empire - November 18, 2010

That is one of my Fav Tunes.

5. dmduncan - November 18, 2010


6. Lancelot Narayan - November 18, 2010


7. Chadwick - November 18, 2010

People who play the theremine are sad sad people, but I guess someone has to do it. I would much rather play an orchestral instrument (which I do). Its like saying you prefer playing table tennis on an oscilloscope over something on PS3. Thank god for the eccentrics? Sorry but I expect the characters on The Big Bang Theory to play theremines and well they are unique bunch.

8. Kevin - November 18, 2010


9. Anthony Pascale - November 18, 2010


That kind of comment is unnecessarily cruel

10. Another Q - November 18, 2010

One of my very favorite compositions…ANYWHERE.
I’m just really glad that Trek created it. It was actually
performed in two shows: First “The Inner Light” and
then repeated in “Lessons”… just a reminder…

11. Dean Martin - November 18, 2010

I played trumpet in High School and was 1st Chair for two years and I believe the Theremin would a very difficult device to play as the performer would have to have near perfect pitch to keep the thing in tune. I wouldn’t consider someone who played this to be sad, but rather gifted.

I love the video and respect the performance and artist. IDIC

12. Andy Patterson - November 18, 2010

I gotta say Mr. Pringle your control and intonation are pretty impressive. Also a nice vibrato. I think I have a new appreciation for the theremin. Have a piece I wrote that I’d like to put a track of that on top.

13. Smack Callahan - November 18, 2010

What’s sadder? To teach oneself to play an instrument, or anonymously tear that person down in a public forum.

Chadwick, congratulations to you. You exemplify the positive, supportive future Gene Roddenberry envisioned oh, so many years ago.

Anthony is right… unnecessarily cruel.

14. Rocket Scientist - November 18, 2010

7. I play the cello, but i would LOVE to learn how to make a theremin sing! Please check out this movie and gain some respect for the artists and engineers who dedicated themselves to this unique instrument over the years.

15. Lukas Ketner - November 18, 2010


Chadwick, go soak your head.

16. Mike Okuda - November 18, 2010

Very impressive. I understand that the theramin is a notoriously difficult instrument to play well. Mr. Pringle did a wonderful job with Jay Chattaway’s beautiful theme.

17. Andrew Fortner - November 18, 2010

Wow! That was cool!!!! Great Job!!!!!!

18. Chris Miles - November 18, 2010

@7- Dude, what the hell?

Why be a hater?

It’s great and very appropriate for SciFi in particular.

I mean, If it was good enough for the great Bernard Herrmann to use with the Day the Earth Stood Still…

Here is a bit behind the scenes with more than one theremin I believe.

Robert Wise knows his composers. Herrmann and later Goldsmith.

@12- Andy, I know you are a fan of Assignment Earth/Gary Seven- you should check out some of the way out gadgetry Theremin planted in the US Embassy way back in the day.

19. General Martok - November 18, 2010

I love me some theremin.

20. Green-Blooded-Bastard - November 18, 2010

The Beach Boys used a Theremin in their recordings, and they were “real musicians”, so I don’t understand why if they took the device seriously enough to use on their recordings, you as a musician and understanding that an instrument is merely a tool used to communicate with have such a hard time with it.

Perhaps it’s the pompous, ignorant, arrogant ass in you.

21. Adam E - November 18, 2010

I want a theremin. Gonna look up prices right now.

22. Captain Karl - November 18, 2010

The only Theremin I have played is an electronic one…well, two: one on my computer and the other on my itouch (the one with the little robot). I can only imagine it is much much different with a real Theremin. What I play is usually spooky stuff or things like 50’s sci-fi music.

23. Boozba - November 18, 2010

Great stuff…by the way, in the second video, does anyone know wich ep of TOS this is? It gave me an idea for a video montage.

24. Vultan - November 18, 2010


Here, blow on this, Mr. Band Camp.

25. cd - November 18, 2010

16 – It looks like it would be very difficult to play to a theramin, but he did a good job. I love the “film dust” on the transporter room video.

26. Buzz Cagney - November 18, 2010

Its clever but c’mon, its isn’t the best noise in the world is it!

27. Jeff - November 19, 2010

Can you download The Inner Light tune anywhere???

28. Captain Conrad - November 19, 2010

I’ve never really been a huge fan of that tune… never really got to me… until now

29. RTC - November 19, 2010

Before now, I would have said a steady diet of theremin music would not be my choice … but this guy might have changed my mind. Fantastic job!

30. Max B - November 19, 2010

That pitch drove my cat nuts!!!

31. United Earth Space Administration - November 19, 2010

For Mr. Pringle:

Maestro, you did an excellent, perfect job re-create “The Inner Light” with the Theremin Instrument. It is very rare for anyone to perfect a song but you sir, take the cake.

I only wish you made a CD out of it. Thank you for your hard work and putting a smile on my face on a rotten, lousy day.


For #7 aka Chadwick:

In the famous words of Balok – “SHUT UP, SUSAN!”

From the famous words of the Fesarius Ship – “SCREW YOU!”


For anyone else who is negative about Mr. Pringle’s talent on the Theremin:

From the famous words of DeForest Kelly’s character, Doctor McCoy – “Go To Blazes!”


I have my own words but I do not want to dis-respect this forum or this website.

Have a great weekend, everyone! Take good care of yourselves. don’t forget to hug your family.

32. ensign joe - November 19, 2010

16. Mike Okuda – November 18, 2010

Whoa its Mike Okuda!!!!

Love your work sir!

33. Andy Patterson - November 19, 2010

@ 18

I have a song I call “typical sci fi theme song” that I’d like to put a real theremin track on some day. You can find it on my Gary Seven “Extras” page….which contains some unused Gary Seven theme ideas from our Assignment: Earth project. You can check out those on this link.

34. Crusade2267 - November 19, 2010

Beautiful work. I usually associate the Theremin with cheesey B-movies about invaders from beyond, but you’ve used it in a very soulful way. Well done!

Also, this is the best piece of Star Trek Music ever, made more special to me by the fact that my wife chose to march down the isle to it at our wedding.

35. Losira - November 19, 2010

The Inner Light one of my all time favorites the theme song always brought tears to my eyes. This haunting tune was realy brought more tears when played on this remarkable instrument. Great job! A beautiful tribute to a great story and a great civilization God rest their souls

36. Jonny Nemo - November 19, 2010

Okay – this wasn’t written for Nest Generation.. this is actually called ‘Speed Bonny Boat’, a scottish folk tune. It was adapted for and modified for the episode, but is NOT an original piece.

37. Phil - November 19, 2010

30. Max B – November 19, 2010

Hey, my three legged cat went hyper when I fired up the video, too.

Got to the point where I could play “Inner Light” on the sax, but that was a while ago. Hate to say it, though, the Theremin is a bit on the annoying side.

38. keachick - November 19, 2010

I don’t want to seem stupid, but I did not see any instrument being played. Is it something that a person can do with their voice? If so, that is so amazing. It does sound like some sort of Asian instrument. So, what is a theremin?

39. CmdrR - November 19, 2010

Nicely done. But, I’m kinda glad it’s a big and varied orchestra.

40. Cpt Devlin - November 19, 2010

I prefer the original. It’s a good performance, but the instrument is terrible.

41. Vultan - November 19, 2010


Here you go:

42. StevenPDX - November 19, 2010

I had never even heard of a thermin before this video, so I checked it out in Wikipedia. An instrument that you play without direct contact by manipulating frequencies between two antennas. OMG! I’m learning guitar and can barely play five chord with my fingers on the strings. I am SO impressed with Mr. Pringle’s video.

I underscore all of the comments about the comment made by #7. I admire any musician, no matter what they play!

Thanks for putting this up, Anthony. The Star Trek community has some amazing talent.

43. "Check the Circuit!" - November 19, 2010

Nice blue screen/green screen work in the second video. And REALLY nice transporter effect. Seamless move from the old footage to the new. Sweet!

44. Dr. Image - November 19, 2010

Best theremin ever, Mr. Pringle.

45. Basement Blogger - November 19, 2010

@ 24, @ 41

Thanks for the research Vultan. I really enjoyed the video with theremin and orchestra. Lush and gorgeous. I researched the piece. It’s music from the Hitchcock film, “Spellbound.” (1945) The music was written by the great film composter Miklos Rozsa. And it was novel for the use of the theremin. Rozsa won the Oscar for his score. By the way, the film featured a dream sequence designed by Dali! Now if I could just get TCM to screen it.

46. Dr. Cheis - November 19, 2010

Would have been more impressive without the harp in the background in my opinion. It would have really shown off what the Theremin can do. Still, very, very impressive.

47. Michael Hall - November 19, 2010

Just wonderful, being given another take on this marvelous episode and music after so many years. Star Trek only very occasionally rose to the level of “The Inner Light,” but when it did, getting through all those filler episodes (and movies) seemed more than worth it. Great job, Mr. Pringle.

48. Vultan - November 19, 2010


Thanks for that info about Spellbound. I had no idea Dali ever worked in Hollywood. And that just happens to be one of the few Hitchcock movies I’ve yet to see—darn it! Hopefully, Robert Osbourne is a follower of this site. {Hint-hint}

49. Basement Blogger - November 19, 2010

@ 48

You can see the dream sequence from Spellbound on TCM’s website, but there’s no plan to rebroadcast it. You can here the theremin in the clip. Leonard Maltin rates the film 3 and one half stars.

50. Hat Rick - November 20, 2010

I am very saddened by comments that disparage the theremin.

I have never played it before, but I am a concert-trained musician in addition to a number of things I’ve done with my life.

I feel that music is a form of universal language, and it speaks to the soul.

No matter your instrument — your voice, your hands, your eyes, anything — your life can be a conduit to musicianship, and love for all things good.

We need more of the love of music, and not less. And certainly not disparagement of what is beautiful.

For, as Goethe and Beethoven would agree, there is but one thing that is true in life, and that is the life is beauty, and beauty is life.

51. CaptainDonovin - November 20, 2010

I’d never even heard of a Theremin & had to look it up. Very impressive & one of my favorite Trek themes.

52. Majicou - November 20, 2010

I have to disagree. The opening figure of four notes is somewhat similar in both pieces, but after that they diverge quite a lot. The chord progressions aren’t even the same. I can tell Jay Chattaway was probably thinking of various sentimental Scottish or Irish folk tunes and going for the same feel (no surprise given the use of the pennywhistle as the solo instrument), but these are not the same melody.

53. Basement Blogger - November 20, 2010

There are lyrics to Alexander Courage’s Star Trek theme. And they were written by “The Great Bird of the Galaxy” himself, Gene Roddenberry. Okay according to the debunking site and Wikipedia, (link below) Roddenberry did so to cut in on the royalties of Courage. Ouch. Want to sing along with the Trekker playing the theremin? Thought so. Below is the Snopes story with the lyrics.

Has anyone recorded the Star Trek theme with those lyrics in a serious way? Yes. Jazz singer Judy Roberts did so years ago. I’m a jazz fan. I recall it being done in a jazz fusion version. It was pretty good. It’s on one of her CDs that collects favorite songs she’s done. (Link below.)

1) Snopes story with Star Trek lyrics

2) Story on lyrics:

3) Judy Roberts song collection “Watercolors” with song “Star Trek.”

54. DannyK - November 20, 2010

Peter Pringle, i’d hate to slam a stack of him…

Awesome rendition of the song though!!

55. Jim Nightshade - November 20, 2010

What is a thermin? Some kinda moog synth?? And how do you play it?? That sounded great and reminded me how special that episode of TNG was….it was one of the few that were very original and pretty much out of the box type thinking episode…

To all those TOS only lovers this episode is just one of many different reasons to remember how great TNG was….

And Mr Pringles playing was beautiful!!

I also loved the trekkie doing the trek theme..clever how he beams in and out and does the song on the transporter pod heeheh

56. Basement Blogger - November 21, 2010

@ 55 I agree with your comments on Star Trek: TNG episode “The Inner Light.” No space battles, just that good old fashion “talky-gooey” Star Trek. Wikipedia article on this beloved and award winning episdode below.

Vultan has researched the Vultan for you. Check out his post, @ 41 for a wikipedia article.

Wiki on episode; Check out how much sombody paid for the prop flute!

57. captain_neill - November 21, 2010

That was a beautiful performance of the Inner Light theme.

I love the sound of the thermin in sci fi films.

58. Basement Blogger - November 21, 2010

@ 56

Correction; Vultan has researched “the Vultan” should read “Vultan has researched the THEREMIN for you.” Sorry. Still you get good information from the wikipededia article.

Oh, I also forget to say that the prop flute according to the Wikipedia article went for $40,000. Wow.

59. rogue_alice - November 22, 2010

Cool. Though, I like to take my THEREMIN ™ before I get in my antique claw foot tub and hold hands with my soul mate who is also soaking in an antique claw foot tub (on the beach, no less).


60. Clinton - November 23, 2010

I applaud them all. I’ve seen people play the Theramin. They all seem to agree it is a very difficult instrument to master.

61. DS9 IN PRIME TIME - November 23, 2010

I have never heard of a theramin it looks pretty cool

62. Woulfe - November 26, 2010

Theremins were also the names of the Aliens in Galaxy Quest as a nod to the instrument itself and it’s many years of service to sci-fi / horror / fantasy films past, present, future, as it’s still being used even today.

It may look EASY to play, but then so must be manipulating Matter & Antimatter in an intermix chamber to generate power for a warp field to achieve faster then light travel by way of the 4th dimension ;-)

Not something one can learn in a few weeks I’m sure, YEARS maybe, but not in a few weeks like any other instrument out there. I still want to see someone hook one up to a TESLA coil for the ultimate in NURD

63. Hat Rick - November 27, 2010

About the only thing that I would change about theremins is the name. It sounds like an OTC medication.

“Feeling down? Take doctor-recommended Theremin! Guaranteed to perk you up.” ;-)

64. emergency preparedness - February 9, 2012

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