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Sneak Peek! Ondes : Expressive Electronic Instrument for iPad

August 6, 2014 10:14 AM

We are very excited to finally share with you a sneak peek at our upcoming app, Ondes.  

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For those who may be wondering about the name, Ondes is French for "waves."  But if you know a little something about the history of electronic music, you might also recognize the word.  The Ondes Martenot is an early electronic instrument with a sound not dissimilar to that of the more widely known Theremin.  Unlike the Theremin, which is played by moving your hands in space, the Ondes Martenot has a keyboard and a sliding ring which allows the player to glide between pitches.  Below each key is a little indentation for the finger to stop on.  These indentations allow for precise pitch intonation, something that is neary impossible to acheive on the Theremin.  (Unless, of course, your name is Clara Rockmore).   Because several 20th century composers (notably Olivier Messiaen) composed for the instrument, the Ondes Martenot is still taught in some music conservatories to this day, though it's a bit expensive to get a hold of one yourself.  You might also have seen Jonny Greenwood performing one in Radiohead.

 

So, Ondes is our little homage to this very cool instrument.  But it's not a "virtual Ondes Martenot."  We've taken the original instrument as our inspiration, re-conceived it for touch screen, and added some great features that make Ondes an expressive and fun instrument of its own time and place.  Watch the video to get a first look at some of the things you can do with it!