Historical noises: Jean Laurendeau and the Ondes Martenot

Posted on: January 30, 2014

On YouTube I found this video today on the Ondes Martenot: an electronic instrument of the 1920’s which preludes today’s synthesizer. It is most widely known for its use in pieces by French composer  Olivier Messiaen:

I actually own a high quality software emulation of the Ondes Martenot made by VSTi producers Sonic Couture and use it quite often due to it’s distinct sounds. One of the interesting things about the Ondes Martenot was the ribbon controller demonstrated by Jean Laurendeau in the video.

A similar ribbon controller in a modern plexiglas enclosure now made by Eowave is also part of my synth studio. Here the Blade Runner theme is played on a synthesizer using the Eowave ribbon as a controller:

So although the Ondes Martenot may be almost a century old and is not often used as an instrument on its own, it’s sounds and concepts are still alive today.

More information:

3 Responses to "Historical noises: Jean Laurendeau and the Ondes Martenot"

I love the sound of the OM and immediately went to YouTube to listen to Messiaen’s “Oraison.”


(btw, that Sonic Couture instrument for Kontakt isn’t half bad)


J’ai connu Maurice Martenot, l’inventeur des ondes et d’une me9thode d’enseignement de la musique e0 la fois pe9dagogique et luuqdie, qu’il transmettait avec une e9nergie communicative, alors qu’il avait 80 ans – assister e0 ses cours e9tait passionnant !


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