What’s Ondes Martenot?

Ondes Martenot is an electronic musical instrument, was invented early in the 20th century by French inventor Maurice Martenot.

The instrument is monophonic and consists in three diffusers: “a principal diffuser”(Loudspeaker), “a resonance diffuser”(named “Palme” which is a loudspeaker in shape of a flame, whose tuned strings, placed on a resonance chamber allow the sound to go on, vibrating by sympathy), “Metallique”(a gong set in vibration by an engine, the metal replacing the membrane of the loudspeaker, which creates a metal sound halo at a precise pitch)

A mobile keyboard allows a vibrato controlled “on line” and also micro intervals.

In front of and along the keyboard there is a “ruban”(ribbon) with ring through which the interpreter puts the forefinger of his right hand. The frequency corresponds to the key facing the ring and allows to obtain the same effect as with a string instrument, without frette, or with a voice(glissandi, effect, lyric, song)

On the left, a drawer contains all controls(sounds, loudspeakers control etc).and ”touch d’intensité”(intensity key) is as a bow, no sounds is produced if the interpreter does not press the key which allows to create intensities and attacks. 

Ondes Martenot is an electronic instrument, but seems like an “acoustic instrument”.

It’s the very rare instrument.  

Currently, Tomomi Kubo playing new generation Ondes Martenot named “Ondéa”. In 1997, the Ondéa project began designing an instrument based on the ondes Martenot and has the playing and operational characteristics of the original ondes Martenot.