Instruments | Ondes Martenot | Modern Era | Classical
Invented by Maurice Martenot in 1928, the ondes martenot or ‘martenot waves’ possesses a keyboard for separate notes, a sliding mechanism for glissando, and a range of seven octaves. It is probably best known for its appearance in Messiaen’s Turangalîla-Symphonie and Trois petites liturgies de la présence divine. Honegger, who wrote for it in Jeanne d’Arc au bûcher, recommended that it should replace the double bassoon! Another electronic keyboard was developed by Brune Helberger: a first version was built in 1936 and a second in 1947. With a seven-octave range, this had two manuals, two knee levers to control vibrato and six pedals directing volume. Players today can be seen controlling vibrato by lateral movements of the keys, not unlike clavichord technique.
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