The Magical Martenot

The ondes Martenot is an early electronic musical instrument invented in France in 1928 by Maurice Martenot. It is somewhat similar to a Theremin, but not as well known. That’s about to change with Caroline Martel’s wonderful new documentary about it, Wavemakers. Integrating vérité, never-before-seen archives and musical highlights, this cinematic journey reveals Maurice Martenot as a missing link in our understanding of the cultural and technological history of the last century. As it turns out, the instrument can be heard on a number of film soundtracks, including Jonny Greenwood’s score for There Will Be Blood, as Greenwood is a Martenot musician. This series includes three other films whose soundtracks feature the Martenot, as well as a screening of Wavemakers, presented by Martel along with an in-person demonstration of the instrument by ondiste Geneviève Grenier, who studied the ondes Martenot at the Conservatoire de Musique de Montreal. This event is cosponsored with the CCA, Science & Technology Studies and the Dept of Music.

©2012 Cornell Cinema, r.haarstad