The history of instruments: the first electronic instruments

By Philharmonie de Paris

Theremin (1929)Philharmonie de Paris

Theremin - 1920 / Leo Theremin

Known as electronic instruments, these are instruments in which sound is generated through electronic oscillators. The thereminvox (or aetherophone) was the first truly successful electronic instrument. 

Ondes martenot (1930) by Maurice MartenotPhilharmonie de Paris

Martenot Onde - 1921 / Maurice Marthenot

Maurice Martenot (1898–1980), is known for his invention and creation of one of the first electronic instruments, one year after the theremin: the Martenot Onde, which was named after him. 

Sound Cross (1932/1933)Philharmonie de Paris

The Croix Sonore - 1932 / Nikolaj Obuhov

Even though just one was built, the Croix Sonore received prominent media attention in the 1930s. Designed in 1932 and based on the same principles as the theremin, it contributed to the fame of its creator, composer Nikolai Obuhov (1892–1954).

Electronic organ model A (1935)Philharmonie de Paris

Organ - 1935 / Lawrens Hammond

This organ is equipped with an amplifier that uses a primitive form of additive synthesis: a set of pure tone generators tuned in harmonic series produces a basic timbre, the intensity of which can be adjusted for each harmonic.

Acoustic loudspeaker ER 20Philharmonie de Paris

ER 20 acoustic speaker

Palme (1947)Philharmonie de Paris

Palme - 1947 / Maurice L. E. Martenot

Clavioline (1947)Philharmonie de Paris

Clavioline - 1954 / Constant Martin

The clavioline is designed to be attached under a keyboard. It is composed of two cases: one contains the tubes, the amplifier, and the speaker, which generates the sound. The other contains the keyboard (three and a half octaves) made up of wooden and ivory keys.

The Museum model has 18 push buttons to control timbre, octave choice, and attack, as well as two controls for vibrato speed and intensity.

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