The Ondes Martenot

The Ondes Martenot (French for “Martenot waves) is an early electronic musical instrument, invented in 1928 by Maurice Martenot and originally very similar in sound to the theremin.

The sonic capabilities of the instrument were subsequently expanded by the addition of timbral controls and switchable loudspeakers. The instrument’s eerie wavering notes are oscillating frequencies produced by thermionic valves.

The video above offers an overview of the rarely heard Ondes Martenot from one of the world’s foremost masters of the instrument, Jean Laurendeau.


  • Analogue Systems‘ French Connection keyboard has many things in common with the Ondes Martenot.
  • l’Ondéa is a modern take on the Ondes Martenot

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