The Martenot Waves

WHEN IN 1917...


noticing how pure the vibrations produced by electronic lamps were, a brand new product then, Maurice Martenot fancied that such vibrations could possibly enrich music with new sonorities, he as not the least aware of the development -called later a revolution- his instruments would bring to orchestration or to musicians’ personal expression as well.

Since the triumphal introduction of the "MARTENOT" at the Paris Opera House in 1928, tremendous improvements have been made : electronically speaking, by keeping on applying the latest technical improvements (the digitized MARTENOT is the eighth model), artistically speaking, by increasing tenfold the potentialities and the facility of performance.

So the current digitized MARTENOT, akin to the winner of the Award of the 1937 Exhibition is the outcome of sixty years’ experience.

A musical instrument ?

Apart from its particular range and quality in tone, a musical instrument is characterized by its capacity for expression. A sound vibration becomes musical only when humanized in a moment of pleasure by the performer.

The more the desire to express one’s musical thought sharpens, the more precisely the instrument needs to be mastered : accuracy becomes expressive, variations on nuances and attacks blend into the musical phrase.

The character of the composition is highlighted. These highly sensitive parameters led Maurice MARTENOT, a true Pioneer in electronic instrument making, to create and improve his instrument. Why a keyboard considering the MARTENOT is a monodic instrument ?

Range marks were necessary to perform on the ring (originally played from a distance), hence the idea of counterfeiting a keyboard, and then to make virtuosity easier, why not a real keyboard, but a light, portable one, so as not to lose any control over accuracy, a crucial factor in the file of sound. Both ways of playing have complementary possibilities of expressions.

Keyboard performance is closely related to the instrumental one, and ring performance to vocal expression. They both make it possible to achieve a vibrato depending completely on the performer’s actions, whether it be accuracy or amplitude of oscillations, which can be altered in the most subtle manner. Dynamic and tone are activated by the left hand (or feet).