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Electronic Musical Instruments 1870-1990

Invention: The Ondes-Martenot
Inventor: Maurice Martenot
Year of Invention: 1928
Country of Origin: France
Brief description:
As a result of his meeting with Leon Termen, inventor of the Theremin cellist Maurice Martenot designed an amazing electronic instrument still used today.

Like the Theremin, the Ondes-Martenot used a vacuum tube oscillator and was monophonic. Later versions encorporated a standard keyboard, which separated it from the annoyingly non-fixed sliding scale of the Theremin.

Some versions of this instrument included a unique finger ring which eventually became a strip control used for glissando and vibrato. It also had expression controls, which enabled the modification of timbre and the produced sounds' "colour".

It was pretty widely accepted, and Martenot taught Ondes-Martenot lessons some twenty years after its invention. It is still used in some orchestras today, and Jonny Greenwood of Radiohead fame has been using one recently, both on Kid A and related live shows (listen to The National Anthem or live versions of How To Disappear Completely.)
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For more information on Electronic Musical Instruments, visit http://www.obsolete.com/120_years/