The Ondes Martenot is one of the earliest electronic musical instruments. It was invented by Maurice Martenot in 1928. He built 7 different versions of the instrument over almost 60 years, but the exact number of instruments built is unknown.
Martenot was inspired by the unexpected and harmonious sounds created by the overlapping of tones from military radio oscillators, and he wanted to create an instrument that could produce sounds as beautiful and expressive as the cello.
Original Martenot instruments are very rare today, but they live on in several modern versions. The Ondes Martenot is a monophonic instrument, meaning that it can only play one note at a time. It is controlled by a keyboard or by moving a ring along a wire.
It appears in many film and TV soundtracks such as the twilight zone, Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons, Lawrence of Arabia, and Ghostbusters. It has also been used by contemporary acts such as Daft Punk, Damon Albarn and the Radiohead guitarist Jonny Greenwood.