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Monday, September 13, 2010

Music lessons (3) The ondioline

From wikipedia:

The Ondioline is a vacuum tube-powered keyboard instrument, invented in 1941 [1] by the Frenchman Georges Jenny, a forerunner of today's synthesizers.

The Ondioline was capable of creating a wide variety of sounds. Its keyboard had a unique feature: it was suspended on special springs which made it possible to introduce a natural vibrato if the player moved the keyboard (not the entire instrument) from side to side (laterally) with their playing hand. The result was an almost human-like vibrato that lent a wide range of expression to the Ondioline. The keyboard was also pressure-sensitive, and the instrument had a knee volume lever, as well.

A few videos:

First a vintage record demonstrating Georges Jenny's Ondioline tube-driven electronic instrument, an important but almost forgotten ancestor of the modern synthesizer. The uploader included English translation of the French-language narration in this video.

From I've Got A Secret an episode of co-inventor of the ondioline Jean Jacques Perrey. (thanks to JJP for posting this on fb)

See also this previous post on the subject.