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Wavemakers (original French title Le chant des ondes) is a 2012 Quebec documentary film about the Ondes Martenot, directed by Caroline Martel. [1]

Ondes Martenot Electronic musical instrument

The ondes Martenot or ondes musicales is an early electronic musical instrument. It is played with a keyboard or by moving a ring along a wire, creating wavering, theremin-like sounds. A player of the ondes martenot is called an ondist.


Martel discovered the Ondes Martenot while making her 2004 film, Le fantôme de l'opératrice , which featured a soundtrack by accomplished "Ondiste" Suzanne Binet-Audet. Martel has stated that in post-screening question periods, people often asked about the mysterious music on the soundtrack. [2]

The film documents the musical instrument's invention by Maurice Martenot, who conceived his instrument after being inspired by the humming and static sounds made by the telegraph machines he operated during the First World War. He built fewer than 300 of the instruments that bear his name during his lifetime, of which there are only about 70 left. [2] [3]

Maurice Louis Eugène Martenot was a French cellist, a radio telegrapher during the first World War, and an inventor.

Wavemakers includes a performance by musician Jonny Greenwood, filmed during a Radiohead soundcheck. Greenwood, who was self-taught on the instrument, stated after his performance Binet-Audet pointed out a technical error in his playing style. The film also features interviews with Jean-Loup Dierstein, an electronic-instrument repairman-turned-Ondes Martenot maker, who was commissioned by Greenwood to build him a new instrument, Binet-Audet, as well as Montreal-based Ondiste Jean Laurendeau. [2] [3]

Jonny Greenwood British musician

Jonathan Richard Guy Greenwood is an English musician and composer. He is the lead guitarist and keyboardist of the alternative rock band Radiohead, and has written a number of film scores.

Radiohead are an English rock band formed in Abingdon-on-Thames in 1985. The band consists of Thom Yorke, brothers Jonny Greenwood and Colin Greenwood (bass), Ed O'Brien and Philip Selway. They have worked with producer Nigel Godrich and cover artist Stanley Donwood since 1994.


The film had its world premiere in November 2012 at the Rencontres internationales du documentaire de Montréal. [4]

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  1. Dumais, Manon (14 March 2013). "Mythique musique". Voir (in French). Montreal. Retrieved 28 November 2014.
  2. 1 2 3 Dunlevy, T'cha (13 March 2013). "Review: Le chant des Ondes". Montreal Gazette. Retrieved 28 November 2014.
  3. 1 2 Tremblay, Odile (9 March 2013). "Sur la piste des ondes Martenot". Le Devoir (in French). Montreal. Retrieved 28 November 2014.
  4. Charlebois, Mathieu (7 November 2012). "Les RIDM à la découverte d'un instrument méconnu : les ondes Martenot". L'actualité . Retrieved 28 November 2014.