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Electronic Music of the Future from Jean-Jacques Perrey in 1966

In 1966, electronic music pioneer Jean-Jacques Perrey was on the game show I’ve Got a Secret and (spoiler!) his secret was he could play a single musical instrument that sounded like a number of other instruments. Perrey’s instrument was called the Ondioline, which was first developed in 1939 and was a forerunner of the modern electronic synthesizer. Perrey was a leading practitioner of the Ondioline:

Thanks to the Ondioline, I could imitate instruments from around the world, such as bagpipes from Scotland, American banjo, Gypsy violin, soprano voice, Indian sitar, and so on. I made a world tour in music and finished it with a gag of whistling a tune. At the end, the whistling was still going on (thanks to the Ondioline), but I was drinking a glass of water. We all laughed.

In the video from the game show, Perrey imitates a bunch of instruments and then plays an original composition with his collaborator Gershon Kingsley, which sounds at once wildly futuristic and laughably dated.

P.S. I first heard of Jean-Jacques Perrey courtesy of his 1970 song E.V.A., which sounds just as modern today as it did when I heard it back in the late 90s remixed by Fatboy Slim.

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