Radiohead loves Ondes Martenot

by Jonathan on June 25, 2009

Jonny Greenwood & Thomas Bloch

Jonny Greenwood & Thomas Bloch

Did you know that Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood is one of a handful of musicians around the world that can masterfully play the Ondes Martenot? Yep.

News24.com has an article about the instrument which you may like to read. Here’s a bit to get you started:

What do Olivier Messiaen, Radiohead and Mars Attacks the movie have in common? The Ondes Martenot, an electronic keyboard that has just turned 80 and is the prequel to the synthesiser.

The instrument dates back to 1928, the brainchild of Frenchman Maurice Martenot, a cello player and wartime radio transmissions expert determined to turn the screech of airwaves into music.

Contemporary composers such as Messiaen, Pierre Boulez, Arthur Honegger and Andre Jolivet have all written for the Ondes Martenot, which produces one note of variable pitch along with weird and wonderful sounds perfect for sci-fi movies such as Mars Attacks.

But pop musicians including Radiohead and Gorillaz too are fans of the trailblazing instrument that resembles an electronic organ surrounded by several loudspeakers.

In front of the central keyboard, which produces vibrato effects, is a ribbon which the ondist plays by placing a ring on a finger, recreating the undulating frequencies of the musical saw.

You can read the full article at news24.com.



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