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Nathalie Forget Demonstrates the ondes Martenot

In the late nineteenth century two facts conspired to change the face of music: the collapse of common practice tonality (which overturned the certainties underpinning the world of art music), and the invention of a revolutionary new form of memory, sound recording (which redefined and greatly empowered the world of popular music).

A tidal wave of probes and experiments into new musical resources and new organisational practices ploughed through both disciplines, bringing parts of each onto shared terrain before rolling on to underpin a new aesthetics able to follow sound and its manipulations beyond the narrow confines of ‘music’. This series tries analytically to trace and explain these developments, and to show how, and why, both musical and post-musical genres take the forms they do.

In PROBES #34 a sequence of new, purely electronic, instruments appear – amongst them (the) electrophon, kurbelspharophon, ondes Martenot, dynophone, croix sonore, pianorad, trautonium and mixtur trautonium – none having any obvious place in the existing vocabulary of musics. In parallel an alien aesthetic begins to redefine the parameters of ‘musical’ sound.

Curated by Chris Cutler.
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