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Robert Moog
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Robert Moog

Dr Robert A. Moog (born May 23, 1934) is the inventor of the Moog synthesizer. (The name Moog is pronounced so that it rhymes with vogue.) A native of New York City, he earned a bachelor's degree in physics from Queen's College, a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering from Columbia University, and a Ph.D in engineering physics from Cornell University.

Table of contents
1 Moog synthesizer
2 Theremin
3 See also
4 External links

Moog synthesizer

The Moog synthesizer was one of the first widely used electronic musical instruments.

Robert Moog created the first playable modern configurable music synthesizer in 1963, and showed it at the AES convention in 1964. It sometimes took hours to set up the machine for a new sound. It is believed the first record to feature a Moog synthesizer was Cosmic Sounds by The Zodiac. The first mainstream music album to feature the record was Pisces, Aqaurius, Capricorn, & Jones, Ltd; by The Monkees. Wendy Carlos (then Walter Carlos) released two major Moog albums in 1968: Switched-On Bach and The well-tempered synthesizer. The former earned Carlos three grammys.

Robert Moog set up a company to manufacture and market his synthesizers. Unlike the few other 1960s synthesizer manufacturers, Moog shipped a piano-style keyboard as the standard user interface to his synthesizers.

Moog also established standards for analog synthesizer control interfacing, with a logarithmic 1-volt-per-octave pitch control and a separate pulse triggering signal.

The first instruments were modular synthesizers. In 1971 Moog broke into the mass market with the Minimoog an all-in-one instrument. The Minimoog was a 44 key scaled-down version of Moog's custom modualr synths and featured 3 oscillators, a mixer, an LFO and a pitch wheel and a modulation wheel. The Minimoog attained and remained the status of "the ultimate monophonic synthesizer" during the 70s.

Another widely used and extremely popular synth of Moog's was the Taurus bass pedal synthesizer. Released in 1974, these pedals were similar in design to organ pedals, but triggered bass synth sounds, instead. They were known for their huge, "fat" bass sound and were used by musicians such as Rush, U2, Yes, the Police, and many, many others. Production of these amazing synths was discontinued in 1981.

Eventually, the advent of digital synthesizers made analog synthesizers less popular, however, ever since the mid-1990s, they have become popular again and are extremely sought after.

The company making the Moog synthesizers went through various changes of ownership, eventually being bought out by musical instrument manufacturer Norlin. Norlin produced a number of synthesizers under the Moog name, but they were less successful than Moog's own designs. Moog Music closed its doors in 1986.

Analog synthesizers have made a comeback in recent years, and they are prized for their "retro" sound. As of 2004, more than 15 companies are making Moog-style synthesizer modules.

After leaving his namesake firm, Bob Moog started making electronic musical instruments again, with a new company, Big Briar. Their first specialty was theremins, yet by 2000 Big Briar was producing synthesizer modules again. Moog managed to buy back the Moog Music name in 2003 and is producing a new version of the Minimoog called the Voyager.


Robert Moog constructed his own Theremin as early as 1949. Later he described a theremin in the hobbyist magazine Electronics World and offered a kit of parts for the construction of the Electronic World's theremin -- a big success. He repaired the original theremin of Clara Rockmore (about 1989) -- so she could play it again -- which he considers as high point of his professional career. He helped to produce her album "The Art of the Theremin". In 1996 he published another do-it-yourself theremin. His company sells theremins worldwide.

See also

External links