Dead musical instruments... brought back to life by YouTube? Check out this mellotron demo film, a rare trautonium keyboard in some guy's garage, trautonium music by composer Oskar Sala, an original Ondes Martenot, a documentary on the telharmonium (parts 1, 2, and 3), and the Sonovox (used to funny but not-suitable-for-work effect in this parody of Sparky's Magic Piano). Meanwhile, avant-gardists have revived the art of prepared piano, but more mainstream acts such as Tori Amos and Ferrante & Teicher have also experimented with it. Last but not least, another performer of prepared piano is Margaret Leng Tan, but I think she should get more accolades as the best virtuoso of the toy piano since Schroeder from Peanuts.
When Maurice Martenot met Lev Sergeivich Termen in the early 1920's and heard his revolutionary new musical instrument the Theremin, he was inspired to create his own electroacoustic instrument , which he christened Ondes Martenot. Next year will mark the 80th anniversary of the first performance of this remarkable hybrid keyboard which, aside from its lovely and ethereal sound, is also aesthetically pleasing visually, with its handsome collection of multiple speakers. See and hear the instrument being played and explained in this video interview and demonstration by Jean Laurendeau, which closes with a lovely rendition of the theme from Star Trek. And, here's the instrument in use, live, alongside who else? Radiohead. [more inside]