We take synthesizers as the norm these days, something everyone seems to have and use. Some evoke the futurist sounds of the distant past (the 1980s) and others continue to set their controls for the heart of the sun. Half a century ago however, things were a little different and the ability to imitate almost any instrument with a single keyboard was as new as fangled got.
George Jenny was one of the founding fathers of modern synthesis and electronic music with his Ondioline instrument. Perhaps not as well-known as the Ondes Martenot (a favourite of Johnny Greenwood) on which it was modeled, it did manage to combine a more realistic vibrato effect with a more portable and versatile setup.
In this video of an American TV show called “I’ve Got A Secret” from 1960, Jean Jacques Perrey – an early pioneer and demonstration salesman of the Ondioline – showcases the new instrument’s capabilities for an awed audience, playing any instrument they desire using just his right hand.