Invented in 1928 by Maurice Martenot, the Ondes Martenot is one of the first examples of a sound synthesizer. Its unique status – electronic instrument with a strong acoustic element (control of dynamics, phrasing, tuning, timbre, sound diffusion and vibrato) has aroused the interest of many composers. The repertoire has been enriched by more than 2000 musical pieces. From Olivier Messiaen to Tristan Murail, through Darius Milhaud, André Jolivet, Jacques Brel, Radiohead, a very large stylistic repertoire has been built.
The instrument is a strange combination and precociously advanced application of traditional playing techniques (with the integration of vibrato through a loosely fitted keyboard) and avant-gard electronic effects (noise generator, random frequency distortions or the unique ring-on-a-string highly accurate pitch controller). Then there is the curious and rich sound diffusion available through the player’s ability to change the output timbre through speaker choice and combinations — on the fly! In fact, there are so many playing techniques and variations, a composer might feel daunted by the sheer number of possibilities the instrument offers and thus prefer to approach the instrument as a novelty or as a “simple” keyboard instrument. Carl Faia had been working on a new work for ondes at Art Zoyd Studios…. more later!
For now, you have a rare oportunity to discover this unique instrument live and in person here on campus Friday (25/11) at 1:10pm with
Nathalie Forget ondes Martenot & Matthew Schellhorn piano
Olivier Messiaen: Feuillets Inédits
Nguyen-Thien: Dao Bâi-Tâp (UK première)
André Jolivet: Hymne à Saint-André
Siobhán Cleary: The Whitening (UK première)
Miyuki Ito: La transparencia del espacio (European première)
Olivier Messiaen: Oraison
And, at 2.30pm–
Wavetrain’s workshop on the ondes Martenot
All welcome – Roberts Room, Floor 3, Lecture Centre
click photo for more info from the Arts Centre