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The Ondioline - A Demonstration

from The Ondioline by Jean-Jacques Perrey

  • Record/Vinyl + Digital Album

    A charming Ondioline demonstration recording by the instrument’s premier performer, Jean-Jacques Perrey. Featuring musical examples and individual timbre demonstrations, this record is a great historical introduction to one of the most unique electronic musical instruments of its time.

    Originally recorded in the late 1950s and featuring a French voiceover actor narrating the examples, this English release has interpolated a new voice performance by American voice actor Theodore Bouloukos, seamlessly blending this new narration with Perrey’s original Ondioline performances.

    Available as a deluxe 7” white vinyl with a unique Ondioline etching on the B-side.

    More information at and

    Includes unlimited streaming of The Ondioline via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.
    ships out within 3 days

      $17 USD or more 



What is the Ondioline?

Of all musical instruments, the ONDIOLINE is the most extraordinary. On the outside, it appears to be a small and elegant piece of living room furniture (walnut, rosewood, mahogany, oak, etc.). A three-octave keyboard, similar to that of a piano, is mounted on the graceful cabinet.

Weight: 20 kg - Size: width 62 cm; height 69 cm; depth 28 cm.

Any musician — even an amateur — who plays this small, three-octave keyboard (which actually provides a seven octave range) creates the perfect illusion of a violin, a cello, a saxophone, a flute, an oboe, a jazz trumpet, a mandolin, and a hundred other instruments. Knowing or learning how to play a piano-style keyboard is all that is necessary. Since the ONDIOLINE, like a trumpet, a saxophone, etc., is a solo instrument, learning the technique is very straightforward as you only ever play one note at a time.

Not only is the ONDIOLINE the simplest of solo instruments, it also offers the richest range of sonic possibilities. A series of 18 timbre-control switches allows the player to obtain a very large variety of known instruments and… unknown ones too.

A beginner can therefore play pleasingly, from the start. The ONDIOLINE offers the virtuoso, as well as the composer, virtually limitless possibilities, hence its success among professionals and amateurs alike.

Additionally, if the player already knows how to play the piano, they can place the ONDIOLINE next to the keyboard and, playing the ONDIOLINE with their right hand, accompany themselves with their left hand.

The ONDIOLINE’s keyboard is expressive, allowing different attacks depending on the instrument. Moreover, it is possible to produce a manual vibrato, by rocking your hand on the keyboard (just as you would do playing a violin); each player’s style is, in this way, very individual. It is, of course, possible to play using the automatic vibrato intended for certain sounds, such as the theater organ.

When playing in a band or orchestra, the ONDIOLINE can be easily tuned to the other instruments using a single knob. This operation tunes all of the registers at once.

The ONDIOLINE has a multiple-voice system (octave-coupling). Coupled octaves allow two or three sounds across different octaves to be heard simultaneously. When a note on the keyboard is pressed (an E, for example), the E an octave lower, as well as the E two octaves lower, will be heard in addition to the first E.

Thus, you create the illusion of hearing a violin and two cellos, or two violins and one cello, etc., and by adding automatic vibratos, a wonderful three-voice organ effect is produced (theater organ, since automatic vibrato is being used).

The ONDIOLINE is an electronic musical instrument, one of the most amazing discoveries of modern science. Just like a wireless radio set, it plugs in to your apartment’s electrical outlet and consumes no more power than a 50 watt lamp. With its sturdy design, the ONDIOLINE was specially developed to withstand sudden power fluctuations, humidity, transport, and daily use in theaters and concert halls; it is infinitely less fragile than a wireless radio set.

For Whom was the Ondioline Created?

Invented in 1942, the ONDIOLINE is now commonly used by the most demanding, music-loving amateurs as well as acclaimed soloists, conductors, and distinguished composers.

It is an instrument that can be played immediately if the amateur is already a musician, without having to learn the complicated fingering and technique of a violin or a saxophone, for example. Every amateur musician can now make their dream a reality thanks to the ONDIOLINE.

It grants the unprecedented ability to change timbres as desired without switching instruments, instrumental technique, or fingering.
With an ONDIOLINE in front of the piano and a little training in classical or jazz, a pianist will augment and multiply the possibilities of a smaller ensemble. From now on, “missing parts” heretofore entrusted to the piano or accordion are played by the professional pianist on the ONDIOLINE. A small orchestra can be transformed in terms of both additional voices and volume, simply by adding an ONDIOLINE.

The ONDIOLINE gives composers new sounds and unusual effects in attack and nuance. From a practical standpoint, it is an invaluable working instrument for the composer.

WARNING : The ONDIOLINE’s success (Grand Prize winner at the 1946 Paris Fair) is such that, all over the world, imitations with sometimes distressingly similar names have been produced.

But a real ONDIOLINE is always signed by its inventor, Georges JENNY, and can be recognized by the fact that its keyboard is totally expressive, when keys are pressed or moved laterally (for manual vibrato). This is the only guarantee of a non-automated musical instrument.

Refuse instruments that offer only automatic vibrato. They skew a child’s taste and ear for music.


The ONDIOLINE is approved by the French Ministry of National Education.

The ONDIOLINE has been used by
Radiodiffusion Télévision Française (French Radio and Television Broadcasting) for several years. Examples of R.T.F. programs which use the ONDIOLINE daily are: “Le Réveil musculaire” (Awakening of the Muscles), “Souvenir pour les rêves” (Memento for Dreams), etc…
R.T.F. has an ONDIOLINE orchestra composed entirely of children ages 8 to 14 and sponsored by Jean Nohain, which has played on the following programs: “36 Chandelles” (36 Candles), “Nous sommes 10 millions d’enfants” (We are 10 Million Children).

There is an ONDIOLINE Trio approved by R.T.F.’s chamber music broadcasting service.

Distinguished composers have written for the ONDIOLINE, including Arthur Honneger, Georges Auric, Kosma, Landowsky, Delannoy, Darius Milhaud, etc…


from The Ondioline, released January 20, 2022
Inventor: Georges Jenny
Performer: Jean-Jacques Perrey
Voiceover: Theodore Bouloukos
Voiceover recording and mastering: François Tetaz
Translation of original French Ondioline brochure: ITC Global Translations
Design and layout: Mike Buffington
Cover illustration: Alexander Bertram-Powell
Project coordination: Wally De Backer


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Jean-Jacques Perrey Switzerland

Jean-Jacques Perrey (1929-2016) was an alternative pop visionary, pioneer of rhythmic tape-edit sampling techniques, and virtuoso of the rare French electronic musical instrument, the Ondioline.

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