In the mid-1960s, electric music pioneer Robert Moog created modular synthesizers using transistor technologies. His early synths featured modules that generate and modify the pitch, timbre, and volume of sounds when connected, or “patched” by cables. This allowed for unprecedented control of sonic parameters but made it difficult to replicate the same sound twice. Moog’s inventions came to the attention of the rock world when they were demonstrated at the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967. The following year, Wendy Carlos’s album Switched-On Bach became the first chart-topping hit utilizing a Moog synthesizer. The instrument has its performance debut at a 1969 concert in the Sculpture Garden at the Museum of Modern Art in NYC, where Moog introduced a quartet of synthesizers built specifically for live events.
Inspired by Wendy Carlos, Keith Emerson of the then-new band Emerson, Lake and Palmer sought out one of the synthesizers that Robert Moog had built for the 1969 concert at MoMA. The band’s 1970 hit single, Lucky Man,” with an expansive Moog solo by Emerson, helped to establish the synthesizer as a lead instrument in popular music. Emerson collaborated with Moog to expand the synthesizer and optimize it for live performance, adding additional components and preset modules that recall sounds.
May 23rd, 2012 would have been the 78th Birthday of Dr. Robert Moog (pronounced MOHG), whose many achievments in electronic music include the invention of the synthesizer. Google honors him today with their very clever Moog Synthesizer Google Doodle. Not only does it look cool, but the Doodle is also interactive! You can click to play it, but if you want to make real music, use the QWERTY row of your keyboard for the white keys, and numbers for the black keys. The buttons and knobs work as well, and you can record and play back your masterpieces on the tape recorder! Read more about the fascinating life of Bob Moog at This Link or by clicking directly on today’s Doodle. Happy Birthday, Bob Moog!
On This Date, August 21st, in 2005: Robert Moog, the inventor of the Moog Synthesizer – which literally revolutionized popular music – died of a brain tumor in Asheville, NC at the age of 71. RIP Robert Moog! You made music better!
Dr. Robert Moog, inventor of the synthesizer, and a man without whose influence bands like Nine Inch Nails and Depeche Mode would certainly be doing something else these days, was born on this day, May 23rd, in 1934. Find out how to correctly pronounce his name at This Link!