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Moog synthesizer

Moog synthesizer

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Historical Moog synthesizersChris Swanson, a composer, was an early demonstrator of R. A. Moog, Inc.
  • Lyra (1973, prototype) — 2nd row from the left on photograph
  • Apollo (1974, prototype, home unit) — stocked
  • Patrick Moraz Double Minimoog
    Minimoog
    The Minimoog is a monophonic analog synthesizer, invented by Bill Hemsath and Robert Moog. It was released in 1970 by R.A. Moog Inc. , and production was stopped in 1981. It was re-designed by Robert Moog in 2002 and released as Minimoog Voyager.The Minimoog was designed in response to the use of...

     (1973) — 3rd row from the left
  • Micromoog
    Micromoog
    The Micromoog is a monophonic analog synthesizer produced by Moog Music from 1975 to 1979.The Micromoog was designed by Robert Moog and Jim Scott as a scaled-down, cheaper alternative to the Minimoog. It was designed to tap into a market of musicians who wanted an introduction to synthesis, but...

     II, Micromoog XL, and Multimoog
    Multimoog
    The Multimoog is a monophonic analog synthesizer manufactured by Moog Music from 1978 to 1981. Derived from the earlier Micromoog , the Multimoog was intended to be a less expensive alternative to Moog's flagship Minimoog...

     (1977) — 4th row from the left

Moog synthesizers in early 1970s


Moog synthesizer ' onMouseout='HidePop("61621")' href="http://www.absoluteastronomy.com/topics/Anglicisation">anglicized
Anglicisation
Anglicisation, or anglicization , is the process of converting verbal or written elements of any other language into a form that is more comprehensible to an English speaker, or, more generally, of altering something such that it becomes English in form or character.The term most often refers to...

 to ˈ , though Robert Moog preferred the former) may refer to any number of analog synthesizer
Analog synthesizer
An analog or analogue synthesizer is a synthesizer that uses analog circuits and analog computer techniques to generate sound electronically. The earliest analog synthesizers in the 1920s and 1930s such as the Trautonium were built with a variety of vacuum-tube and electro-mechanical technologies...

s designed by Dr. Robert Moog
Robert Moog
Robert Arthur Moog , commonly called Bob Moog was an American pioneer of electronic music, best known as the inventor of the Moog synthesizer.-Life:...

 or manufactured by Moog Music
Moog Music
Moog Music is an American company based in Asheville, North Carolina which manufactures electronic musical instruments. The current Moog Music is the second company to trade under that name.-R.A. Moog Co. and the original Moog Music:...

, and is commonly used as a generic term for older-generation analog music synthesizers. The Moog company pioneered the commercial manufacture of modular voltage-controlled analog synthesizer
Analog synthesizer
An analog or analogue synthesizer is a synthesizer that uses analog circuits and analog computer techniques to generate sound electronically. The earliest analog synthesizers in the 1920s and 1930s such as the Trautonium were built with a variety of vacuum-tube and electro-mechanical technologies...

 systems in the early 1950s. The technological development that led to the creation of the Moog synthesizer was the invention of the transistor
Transistor
A transistor is a semiconductor device used to amplify and switch electronic signals and power. It is composed of a semiconductor material with at least three terminals for connection to an external circuit. A voltage or current applied to one pair of the transistor's terminals changes the current...

, which enabled researchers like Moog to build electronic music systems that were considerably smaller, cheaper and far more reliable than earlier vacuum tube
Vacuum tube
In electronics, a vacuum tube, electron tube , or thermionic valve , reduced to simply "tube" or "valve" in everyday parlance, is a device that relies on the flow of electric current through a vacuum...

-based systems.

The Moog synthesizer began to gain wider attention in the music industry after it was demonstrated at the Monterey International Pop Festival
Monterey Pop Festival
The Monterey International Pop Music Festival was a three-day concert event held June 16 to June 18, 1967 at the Monterey County Fairgrounds in Monterey, California...

 in 1967. The commercial breakthrough of a Moog recording was made by Wendy Carlos
Wendy Carlos
Wendy Carlos is an American composer and electronic musician. Carlos first came to notice in the late 1960s with recordings made on the Moog synthesizer, then a relatively new and unknown instrument; most notable were LPs of synthesized Bach and the soundtrack for Stanley Kubrick's film A...

 in the 1968 record Switched-On Bach
Switched-On Bach
-Details:The album consists of pieces by Johann Sebastian Bach, performed on a Moog synthesizer, a modular synthesizer system, one of which can be seen at the back of the room on the album cover. "Switched-On Bach," or "S-OB" as Carlos referred to it, was recorded on a custom-built 8 track recorder...

, which became one of the highest-selling classical music
Classical music
Classical music is the art music produced in, or rooted in, the traditions of Western liturgical and secular music, encompassing a broad period from roughly the 11th century to present times...

 recordings of its era. The success of Switched-On Bach sparked a slew of other synthesizer records in the late 1960s to mid 1970s. In 1974 the German electronic group Kraftwerk
Kraftwerk
Kraftwerk is an influential electronic music band from Düsseldorf, Germany. The group was formed by Ralf Hütter and Florian Schneider in 1970, and was fronted by them until Schneider's departure in 2008...

 further popularized the sound of the synthesizer with their landmark album Autobahn
Autobahn (album)
Autobahn is the fourth studio album by German electronic band Kraftwerk, released in November 1974. The 22-minute title track "Autobahn" was edited to about 3 minutes for single release and reached number 25 on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart, and performed even higher around Europe, including...

, which used several types of synthesizer including a Minimoog. German-based Italian producer-composer Giorgio Moroder
Giorgio Moroder
Hansjörg "Giorgio" Moroder is an Italian record producer, songwriter and performer based in Los Angeles. When in Munich in the 1970s, he started his own record label called Oasis Records, which several years later became a subdivision of Casablanca Records...

 helped to shape the development of disco
Disco
Disco is a genre of dance music. Disco acts charted high during the mid-1970s, and the genre's popularity peaked during the late 1970s. It had its roots in clubs that catered to African American, gay, psychedelic, and other communities in New York City and Philadelphia during the late 1960s and...

 music.

Later Moog modular systems featured improvements, such as a scaled-down, simplified, self-contained musical instrument designed for use in live performance. The Minimoog became the most popular monophonic synthesizer of the 1970s, and it was quickly taken up by leading rock and electronic music groups such as Yes
Yes (band)
Yes are an English rock band who achieved worldwide success with their progressive, art, and symphonic style of rock music. Regarded as one of the pioneers of the progressive genre, Yes are known for their lengthy songs, mystical lyrics, elaborate album art, and live stage sets...

 and Tangerine Dream
Tangerine Dream
Tangerine Dream is a German electronic music group founded in 1967 by Edgar Froese. The band has undergone many personnel changes over the years, with Froese being the only continuous member...

.

Early history


The Moog company pioneered the commercial manufacture of modular voltage-controlled analog synthesizer
Analog synthesizer
An analog or analogue synthesizer is a synthesizer that uses analog circuits and analog computer techniques to generate sound electronically. The earliest analog synthesizers in the 1920s and 1930s such as the Trautonium were built with a variety of vacuum-tube and electro-mechanical technologies...

 systems. Company founder Dr. Robert Arthur Moog had begun manufacturing and selling vacuum-tube theremin
Theremin
The theremin , originally known as the aetherphone/etherophone, thereminophone or termenvox/thereminvox is an early electronic musical instrument controlled without discernible physical contact from the player. It is named after its Russian inventor, Professor Léon Theremin, who patented the device...

s in kit form while he was a student in the early 1950s and marketed his first transistorized theremin kits in 1961. Moog became interested in the design and construction of complex electronic music systems in the mid 1960s and the burgeoning interest in his designs enabled him to establish a small company (R. A. Moog Co., which became Moog Music and later, Moog Electronics) to manufacture and market the new devices.

Pioneering electronic music experimenters like Leon Theremin
Léon Theremin
Léon Theremin was a Russian and Soviet inventor. He is most famous for his invention of the theremin, one of the first electronic musical instruments. He is also the inventor of interlace, a technique of improving the picture quality of a video signal, widely used in video and television technology...

, Louis and Bebe Barron
Louis and Bebe Barron
Bebe Barron and Louis Barron were two American pioneers in the field of electronic music...

, Christopher R. Morgan, and Raymond Scott
Raymond Scott
Raymond Scott was an American composer, band leader, pianist, engineer, recording studio maverick, and electronic instrument inventor....

 had built sound-generating devices and systems of varying complexity, and several large electronic synthesizers (e.g. the RCA Mark II Sound Synthesizer
RCA Mark II Sound Synthesizer
The RCA Mark II Sound Synthesizer was the first programmable electronic music synthesizer and the flagship piece of equipment at the Columbia-Princeton Electronic Music Center. Designed by Herbert Belar and Harry Olson at RCA, it was installed at Columbia University in 1957...

) had been built prior to the advent of the Moog, but these were essentially unique, custom-built devices or systems. Electronic music studios typically had many different oscillators, filters and other devices to generate and manipulate electronic sound. In the case of the famous electronic score for the 1955 science fiction film Forbidden Planet
Forbidden Planet
Forbidden Planet is a 1956 science fiction film directed by Fred M. Wilcox, with a screenplay by Cyril Hume. It stars Leslie Nielsen, Walter Pidgeon, and Anne Francis. The characters and its setting have been compared to those in William Shakespeare's The Tempest, and its plot contains certain...

, for example, the Barrons had to design and build many different circuits to produce particular sounds, and each could only perform a limited range of functions.

Early electronic music performance devices like the Theremin
Theremin
The theremin , originally known as the aetherphone/etherophone, thereminophone or termenvox/thereminvox is an early electronic musical instrument controlled without discernible physical contact from the player. It is named after its Russian inventor, Professor Léon Theremin, who patented the device...

 were also relatively limited in function. The classic Theremin, for example, produces only a simple sine wave
Sine wave
The sine wave or sinusoid is a mathematical function that describes a smooth repetitive oscillation. It occurs often in pure mathematics, as well as physics, signal processing, electrical engineering and many other fields...

 tone, and the antennae
Antenna (radio)
An antenna is an electrical device which converts electric currents into radio waves, and vice versa. It is usually used with a radio transmitter or radio receiver...

 which control the pitch and volume respond to small changes in the proximity of the operator's hands to the device, making it difficult to play accurately.

In the period from 1950 to the mid-1960s, studio musicians and composers were also heavily dependent on magnetic tape
Magnetic tape
Magnetic tape is a medium for magnetic recording, made of a thin magnetizable coating on a long, narrow strip of plastic. It was developed in Germany, based on magnetic wire recording. Devices that record and play back audio and video using magnetic tape are tape recorders and video tape recorders...

 to realize their works. The limitations of existing electronic music components meant that in many cases each note or tone had to be recorded separately, with changes in pitch often achieved by speeding up or slowing down the tape, and then splicing or overdubbing the result into the master tape. These tape-recorded electronic works could be extremely laborious and time-consuming to create—according to the 1967 Moog 900 Series demonstration record, such recordings could have as many as eight edits per inch of tape. The key technological development that led to the creation of the Moog synthesizer was the invention of the transistor
Transistor
A transistor is a semiconductor device used to amplify and switch electronic signals and power. It is composed of a semiconductor material with at least three terminals for connection to an external circuit. A voltage or current applied to one pair of the transistor's terminals changes the current...

, which enabled researchers like Moog to build electronic music systems that were considerably smaller, cheaper and far more reliable than earlier systems, which depended on the older vacuum tube
Vacuum tube
In electronics, a vacuum tube, electron tube , or thermionic valve , reduced to simply "tube" or "valve" in everyday parlance, is a device that relies on the flow of electric current through a vacuum...

 technology.
Moog began to develop his synthesizer systems after he met educator and composer Herbert Deutsch
Herbert Deutsch
Herbert A. Deutsch is an American composer, inventor, and educator. Currently professor emeritus of electronic music and composition at Hofstra University, he is best known for co-inventing the Moog Synthesizer with Bob Moog in 1964....

 at a conference in late 1963. Over the next year, with encouragement from Myron Hoffman of the University of Toronto
University of Toronto
The University of Toronto is a public research university in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, situated on the grounds that surround Queen's Park. It was founded by royal charter in 1827 as King's College, the first institution of higher learning in Upper Canada...

, Moog and Deutsch developed the first modular voltage-controlled subtractive synthesizer. Through Hoffman, Moog was invited to demonstrate these prototype devices at the Audio Engineering Society
Audio Engineering Society
Established in 1948, the Audio Engineering Society draws its membership from amongst engineers, scientists, other individuals with an interest or involvement in the professional audio industry. The membership largely comprises engineers developing devices or products for audio, and persons working...

 convention in October 1964, where composer Alwin Nikolais
Alwin Nikolais
Alwin Nikolais was an American choreographer.Nikolais studied piano at an early age and began his performing career as an organist accompanying silent films. As a young artist, he gained skills in scenic design, acting, puppetry and music composition...

 saw them and immediately placed an order.

Moog's innovations were set out in his 1964 paper Voltage-Controlled Electronic Music Modules, presented at the AES conference in October 1964, where he also demonstrated his prototype synthesizer modules. There were two key features in Moog's new system: he analyzed and systematized the production of electronically-generated sounds, breaking down the process into a number of basic functional "blocks", which could be carried out by standardized modules. He proposed the use of a standardized scale of voltages for the electrical signals that controlled the various functions of these modules—the Moog oscillators and keyboard, for example, used a standard progression of 1 volt per octave for pitch control.

At a time when digital circuits were still relatively costly and in an early stage of development, voltage control was a practical design choice. In the Moog topology, each voltage-controllable module has one or more inputs that accept a voltage of typically 10 V or less. The magnitude of this voltage controls one or more key parameters of the module's circuits, such as the frequency of an audio (or sub-audio—"low frequency") oscillator, the attenuation or gain of an amplifier, or the cutoff frequency of a wide-frequency-range filter. Thus, frequency determines pitch, attenuation determines instantaneous loudness (as well as silence between notes), and cutoff frequency determines relative timbre.

Voltage control in analog music synthesizers is similar in principle to how voltage is used in electronic analog computers, in which voltage is a scaled analog of a quantity that is part of the computation. For instance, control voltages can be added or subtracted in a circuit almost identical to an adder in such a computer. Inside a synthesizer VCO, an analog exponential function provides the 1 volt per octave control of an oscillator that basically runs on a volts/kHz basis. Positive voltage polarity raises pitch, and negative lowers it. The result is that, for example, a standard keyboard can have its output scaled to that of a quarter-tone keyboard by changing its output to one-half volt per octave, with no other technical changes.

Using this approach, Moog built a range of signal-generating, signal-modifying and controller modules, each of which could be easily inter-connected to control or modify the functions and outputs of any other. The central component was the Voltage-controlled oscillator
Voltage-controlled oscillator
A voltage-controlled oscillator or VCO is an electronic oscillator designed to be controlled in oscillation frequency by a voltage input. The frequency of oscillation is varied by the applied DC voltage, while modulating signals may also be fed into the VCO to cause frequency modulation or phase...

 (VCO), which generated the primary sound signal, capable of producing a variety of waveforms including sawtooth, square and sine waves. The output from the VCO could then be modified and shaped by feeding the signal into other modules such as Voltage-controlled amplifiers (VCA), voltage-controlled filter
Voltage-controlled filter
A voltage-controlled filter is a filter whose operating characteristics can be controlled by means of a control voltage applied to one or more inputs...

s (VCF), envelope generators, and ring modulators. Another customization as part of the Moog Modular Synthesizer is the sequencer, which provided a source of timed, step control voltages that were programmed to create repetitive note patterns, without using the keyboard. The inputs and outputs of any module could be cross-linked with patch cords (using tip-sleeve ("mono") ¼-inch plugs) and, together with the module control knobs and switches, could create a nearly infinite variety of sounds and effects.

The final output could be controlled by an organ-style keyboard
Musical keyboard
A musical keyboard is the set of adjacent depressible levers or keys on a musical instrument, particularly the piano. Keyboards typically contain keys for playing the twelve notes of the Western musical scale, with a combination of larger, longer keys and smaller, shorter keys that repeats at the...

 as the primary user interface, but the notes—individual sounds—could also be triggered and/or modulated by a ribbon controller or by other modules such as white noise
White noise
White noise is a random signal with a flat power spectral density. In other words, the signal contains equal power within a fixed bandwidth at any center frequency...

 generators or low-frequency oscillators. The Moog modular systems were not designed as a performance instrument, but rather a sophisticated, studio-based professional audio system which could be used as a musical instrument for creating and recording electronic music in the studio.
Moog's first customised modular systems were built during 1965 and demonstrated at a summer workshop at Moog's Trumansburg, New York, factory in August 1965, culminating with an afternoon concert of electronic music and musique concrète
Musique concrète
Musique concrète is a form of electroacoustic music that utilises acousmatic sound as a compositional resource. The compositional material is not restricted to the inclusion of sounds derived from musical instruments or voices, nor to elements traditionally thought of as "musical"...

on August 28. Although far more compact than previous tube-based systems (e.g. the RCA Mark II
RCA Mark II Sound Synthesizer
The RCA Mark II Sound Synthesizer was the first programmable electronic music synthesizer and the flagship piece of equipment at the Columbia-Princeton Electronic Music Center. Designed by Herbert Belar and Harry Olson at RCA, it was installed at Columbia University in 1957...

) the Moog modular systems were quite large by modern standards, since they predated the introduction of integrated circuit ("microchip") technology; one the biggest of these, the Moog-based "TONTO
Tonto's Expanding Head Band
Tonto's Expanding Head Band was a British electronic music duo consisting of Malcolm Cecil and Robert Margouleff. Despite releasing only two albums in the early 1970s, the duo were influential because of their session work for other musicians , extensive commercial advertising work and the unique...

" system (built by Malcolm Cecil
Malcolm Cecil
Malcolm Cecil is a British jazz bassist and Grammy Award-winning record producer.A founding member of the UK's leading jazz quintet of the late 1950s, The Jazz Couriers, he went on to join a number of British jazz combos led by Dick Morrissey, Tony Crombie and Ronnie Scott in the late 50s and...

 and used by Stevie Wonder
Stevie Wonder
Stevland Hardaway Morris , better known by his stage name Stevie Wonder, is an American singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, record producer and activist...

 in the 1970s) occupies several cubic meters when fully assembled. These early Moogs were also complex to operate—it sometimes took hours to set up the machine for a new sound—and they were prone to pitch instability because the oscillators tended to drift out of tune as the device heated up. As a result, ownership and use was at first mainly limited to clients such as educational institutions and major recording studios and a handful of adventurous audio professionals.

Ca. 1967, through contacts at the Columbia-Princeton Center, Moog met Wendy (then Walter) Carlos
Wendy Carlos
Wendy Carlos is an American composer and electronic musician. Carlos first came to notice in the late 1960s with recordings made on the Moog synthesizer, then a relatively new and unknown instrument; most notable were LPs of synthesized Bach and the soundtrack for Stanley Kubrick's film A...

, a recording engineer at New York's studio Gotham Recording and a former student of Vladimir Ussachevsky
Vladimir Ussachevsky
Vladimir Kirilovitch Ussachevsky was a composer, particularly known for his work in electronic music.-Biography:...

. Carlos was then building an electronic music system and began ordering Moog modules. Moog credits Carlos with making many suggestions and improvements to his systems. During 1967 Moog introduced its first production model, the 900 series, which was promoted with a free demonstration record composed, realised and produced by Carlos. After assembling a Moog system and a custom-built 8-track recorder in early 1968, Carlos and collaborator Rachel Elkind (secretary to CBS Records president Goddard Lieberson
Goddard Lieberson
Goddard Lieberson was the president of Columbia Records from 1956 to 1971, and from 1973 to 1975. He was also a composer, and studied with George Frederick McKay, at the University of Washington, Seattle....

) began recording pieces by Bach which were entirely realized on the new Moog. When Moog played one of their pieces at the AES convention in 1968 it received a standing ovation.
The use of flexible cords with plugs at their ends and sockets (jacks) to make temporary connections dates back to cord-type manually-operated telephone switchboards (if not even earlier, possibly for telegraph circuits). Cords with plugs at both ends had been used for many decades before the advent of Dr. Moog's synthesizers to make temporary connections ("patches") in such places as radio and recording studios. These came to be known as "patch cords", and that term was also used for Moog modular systems. As familiarity developed, a given setup of the synthesizer (both cord connections and knob settings) came to be referred to as a "patch", and the term has persisted, applying to systems that do not use patch cords.

Late 1960s


The Moog synthesizer began to gain wider attention in the music industry after it was demonstrated at the epochal Monterey International Pop Festival
Monterey Pop Festival
The Monterey International Pop Music Festival was a three-day concert event held June 16 to June 18, 1967 at the Monterey County Fairgrounds in Monterey, California...

 in June 1967. Electronic music pioneers Paul Beaver
Paul Beaver
Paul Beaver was a jazz musician and a pioneer in popular electronic music, using the Moog synthesizer.Beaver was the electronic half of a 1965 experimental free-form album for Dunhill Records with studio drummer Hal Blaine called "Psychedelic Percussion"...

 and Bernie Krause
Bernie Krause
Bernard L. Krause is an American musician, soundscape recordist and bio-acoustician, who coined the term biophony and helped define the structure of soundscape ecology. Krause holds a Ph.D. in bioacoustics from Union Institute & University in Cincinnati.-Biography:Bernie Krause was born in 1938...

 had bought one of Moog's first synthesizers in 1966 and had spent a fruitless year trying to interest Hollywood studios in its use for movie soundtracks. In June 1967 they set up a booth at the Monterey festival to demonstrate the Moog, and it attracted the interest of several of the major acts who attended, including The Byrds
The Byrds
The Byrds were an American rock band, formed in Los Angeles, California in 1964. The band underwent multiple line-up changes throughout its existence, with frontman Roger McGuinn remaining the sole consistent member until the group disbanded in 1973...

 and Simon & Garfunkel. This quickly built into a steady stream of studio session work in Los Angeles and a recording contract with Warner Brothers.

Some of the first rock recordings to feature the Moog synthesizer included the Diana Ross & the Supremes
The Supremes
The Supremes, an American female singing group, were the premier act of Motown Records during the 1960s.Originally founded as The Primettes in Detroit, Michigan, in 1959, The Supremes' repertoire included doo-wop, pop, soul, Broadway show tunes, psychedelic soul, and disco...

 single, "Reflections" (released July 1967) and prominently throughout albums of the Summer of Love
Summer of Love
The Summer of Love was a social phenomenon that occurred during the summer of 1967, when as many as 100,000 people converged on the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood of San Francisco, creating a cultural and political rebellion...

 era such as on Strange Days
Strange Days (album)
Strange Days is the second album released by American rock band The Doors. The album was a commercial success, earning a gold record and reaching No. 3 on the Billboard 200 albums chart. Despite this, the album's producer, Paul Rothchild, considered it a commercial failure, even if it was an...

by The Doors
The Doors
The Doors were an American rock band formed in 1965 in Los Angeles, California, with vocalist Jim Morrison, keyboardist Ray Manzarek, drummer John Densmore, and guitarist Robby Krieger...

 (released September 1967) Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn, & Jones, Ltd.
Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn, & Jones, Ltd.
Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones Ltd. was the fourth album by The Monkees, released on November 6, 1967, when the Monkees were exerting more control over their music and actually playing many of the instruments themselves, something their record company had previously forbidden...

by The Monkees
The Monkees
The Monkees are an American pop rock group. Assembled in Los Angeles in 1966 by Robert "Bob" Rafelson and Bert Schneider for the American television series The Monkees, which aired from 1966 to 1968, the musical acting quartet was composed of Americans Micky Dolenz, Michael Nesmith and Peter Tork,...

, Cosmic Sounds by The Zodiac
Zodiac (musical group)
Zodiac was a space disco music band that existed in the 1980s in Latvia, then a part of Soviet Union. The band was extremely popular in the Soviet Union and has been credited by critics as the Soviet answer to the French band Space who were popular at the time.-Biography:Zodiac was formed by Jānis...

, (the latter two both released November 1967), Their Satanic Majesties Request
Their Satanic Majesties Request
Their Satanic Majesties Request is the sixth British and eighth American studio album by The Rolling Stones, released on 8 December 1967 by Decca Records in the United Kingdom and the following day in the United States by London Records...

by The Rolling Stones
The Rolling Stones
The Rolling Stones are an English rock band, formed in London in April 1962 by Brian Jones , Ian Stewart , Mick Jagger , and Keith Richards . Bassist Bill Wyman and drummer Charlie Watts completed the early line-up...

 (released December 1967), The Notorious Byrd Brothers
The Notorious Byrd Brothers
The Notorious Byrd Brothers is the fifth album by the American rock band The Byrds and was released in January 1968 on Columbia Records . Musically, the album represents the pinnacle of The Byrds' psychedelic experimentation, with the band blending together elements of folk rock, psychedelic rock,...

by The Byrds
The Byrds
The Byrds were an American rock band, formed in Los Angeles, California in 1964. The band underwent multiple line-up changes throughout its existence, with frontman Roger McGuinn remaining the sole consistent member until the group disbanded in 1973...

 (released January 1968), and Simon & Garfunkel's Bookends
Bookends
-Charts:-Personnel:*Paul Simon - Vocals, Guitar, Producer*Art Garfunkel - Vocals, Producer*Hal Blaine - Drums, Percussion*Joe Osborn - Bass*Larry Knechtel - Piano, Keyboards*John Simon - Production Assistant...

(released April 1968). Buck Owens made the second purchase of the Moog, his longtime collaborator Jeff Haskell recording Switched On Buck, an album of Owens material recorded entirely on the Moog and released by Capitol Records
Capitol Records
Capitol Records is a major United States based record label, formerly located in Los Angeles, but operating in New York City as part of Capitol Music Group. Its former headquarters building, the Capitol Tower, is a major landmark near the corner of Hollywood and Vine...

 in 1971. (Carlos purchased the first and Micky Dolenz of the Monkees purchased the third model).

At this early stage the Moog synthesizer was still widely perceived as a novel form of electronic keyboard, not unlike the Mellotron
Mellotron
The Mellotron is an electro-mechanical, polyphonic tape replay keyboard originally developed and built in Birmingham, England in the early 1960s. It superseded the Chamberlin Music Master, which was the world's first sample-playback keyboard intended for music...

, which had appeared a few years earlier. Most early Moog appearances on popular recordings tended to make limited use of the synthesizer, exploiting the new device for its novel sonic qualities, and it was generally only used to augment or 'color' standard rock arrangements, rather than as an alternative to them—as for example in its use by Simon and Garfunkel on their 1968 LP Bookends and The Beatles
The Beatles
The Beatles were an English rock band, active throughout the 1960s and one of the most commercially successful and critically acclaimed acts in the history of popular music. Formed in Liverpool, by 1962 the group consisted of John Lennon , Paul McCartney , George Harrison and Ringo Starr...

' Abbey Road.

According to the American Physical Society
American Physical Society
The American Physical Society is the world's second largest organization of physicists, behind the Deutsche Physikalische Gesellschaft. The Society publishes more than a dozen scientific journals, including the world renowned Physical Review and Physical Review Letters, and organizes more than 20...

, "The first live performance of a music synthesizer was made by pianist Paul Bley
Paul Bley
Paul Bley, CM is a pianist known for his contributions to the free jazz movement of the 1960s as well as his innovations and influence on trio playing.-Biography:...

 at Lincoln Center in New York City on December 26, 1969. Bley developed a proprietary interface that allowed real-time performance on the music synthesizer." However, according to biographical notes on the Hofstra University
Hofstra University
Hofstra University is a private, nonsectarian institution of higher learning located in the Village of Hempstead, New York, United States, about east of New York City: less than an hour away by train or car...

 website, Herbert Deutsch gave a concert at the New York Town Hall on September 25, 1965 with his New York Improvisation Quartet which included the first live performance with a Moog synthesizer. The Moog was also heard on August 28, 1969 at the Museum of Modern Art in New York in a performance which included Moog and Deutsch. Keyboardist/composer Keith Emerson
Keith Emerson
Keith Noel Emerson is an English keyboard player and composer. Formerly a member of the Keith Emerson Trio, John Brown's Bodies, The T-Bones, V.I.P.s, P.P. Arnold's backing band, and The Nice , he was a founder of Emerson, Lake & Palmer , one of the early supergroups, in 1970...

 is also pointed as the first musician to play live with a Moog in 1968 with his band The Nice
The Nice
The Nice were an English progressive rock band from the 1960s, known for their blend of rock, jazz and classical music. Their debut album, The Thoughts of Emerlist Davjack was released in 1967 to immediate acclaim. It is often considered the first progressive rock album...

 accompanied by orchestra.

Commercial breakthrough



The commercial breakthrough was made by New York-based recording engineer, musician and composer Wendy Carlos
Wendy Carlos
Wendy Carlos is an American composer and electronic musician. Carlos first came to notice in the late 1960s with recordings made on the Moog synthesizer, then a relatively new and unknown instrument; most notable were LPs of synthesized Bach and the soundtrack for Stanley Kubrick's film A...

 who, with producer and collaborator Rachel Elkind, was primarily responsible for introducing the Moog synthesizer to the general public and demonstrating its extraordinary musical possibilities. Carlos worked closely with Moog during 1967-68, suggesting many improvements and refinements to his modules, and during 1967 Carlos composed, realized and produced electronic sounds and music for a demonstration record for the Moog company. Carlos purchased a large Moog modular system in 1968 and then constructed a state-of-the-art eight-track multitrack recorder
Multitrack recording
Multitrack recording is a method of sound recording that allows for the separate recording of multiple sound sources to create a cohesive whole...

 from superseded studio equipment. Carlos and Elkind then began recording a selection of instrumental compositions by Johann Sebastian Bach
Johann Sebastian Bach
Johann Sebastian Bach was a German composer, organist, harpsichordist, violist, and violinist whose sacred and secular works for choir, orchestra, and solo instruments drew together the strands of the Baroque period and brought it to its ultimate maturity...

, realized entirely on the Moog synthesizer, with each piece painstakingly assembled one part at a time on the multitrack tape.

The resulting album was released by CBS Records
CBS Records
CBS Records is a record label founded by CBS Corporation in 2006 to take advantage of music from its entertainment properties owned by CBS Television Studios. The initial label roster consisted of only three artists; rock band Señor Happy and singer/songwriters Will Dailey and P.J...

 in late 1968 under the title Switched-On Bach
Switched-On Bach
-Details:The album consists of pieces by Johann Sebastian Bach, performed on a Moog synthesizer, a modular synthesizer system, one of which can be seen at the back of the room on the album cover. "Switched-On Bach," or "S-OB" as Carlos referred to it, was recorded on a custom-built 8 track recorder...

. It quickly captured the public imagination, becoming one of the highest-selling classical music
Classical music
Classical music is the art music produced in, or rooted in, the traditions of Western liturgical and secular music, encompassing a broad period from roughly the 11th century to present times...

 recordings ever released up to that time and earning Carlos three Grammy awards. The success of Switched-On Bach led to three more successful albums of electronically realized Baroque music by Carlos, as well as the acclaimed electronic soundtrack music for the 1971 Stanley Kubrick
Stanley Kubrick
Stanley Kubrick was an American film director, writer, producer, and photographer who lived in England during most of the last four decades of his career...

 film adaptation of A Clockwork Orange
A Clockwork Orange (film)
A Clockwork Orange is a 1971 film adaptation of Anthony Burgess's 1962 novel of the same name. It was written, directed and produced by Stanley Kubrick...

, which featured original music by Carlos along with several Moog versions of classical pieces by Beethoven and Rossini. Still in 1968 Keith Emerson
Keith Emerson
Keith Noel Emerson is an English keyboard player and composer. Formerly a member of the Keith Emerson Trio, John Brown's Bodies, The T-Bones, V.I.P.s, P.P. Arnold's backing band, and The Nice , he was a founder of Emerson, Lake & Palmer , one of the early supergroups, in 1970...

 purchased the second Moog modular system in the UK after hearing Switched-On Bach
Switched-On Bach
-Details:The album consists of pieces by Johann Sebastian Bach, performed on a Moog synthesizer, a modular synthesizer system, one of which can be seen at the back of the room on the album cover. "Switched-On Bach," or "S-OB" as Carlos referred to it, was recorded on a custom-built 8 track recorder...

. Having problems with its assembly and tuning, he met and collaborated with Dr. Moog so helping to develop even more stable oscillators and many new features for live and studio performance. This led the way to full commercial production of many types of synthesizers on the next decade and brought new rival manufacturers to the market.

In July, 1969 Dick Hyman
Dick Hyman
Richard “Dick” Hyman is an American jazz pianist/keyboardist and composer, best-known for his versatility with jazz piano styles. Over a 50 year career, he has functioned as pianist, organist, arranger, music director, and, increasingly, as composer...

's recording of his jazz
Jazz
Jazz is a musical style that originated at the beginning of the 20th century in African American communities in the Southern United States. It was born out of a mix of African and European music traditions. From its early development until the present, jazz has incorporated music from 19th and 20th...

 composition "The Minotaur" became the first Moog-based Billboard
Billboard (magazine)
Billboard is a weekly American magazine devoted to the music industry, and is one of the oldest trade magazines in the world. It maintains several internationally recognized music charts that track the most popular songs and albums in various categories on a weekly basis...

Top 40 hit single
Single (music)
In music, a single or record single is a type of release, typically a recording of fewer tracks than an LP or a CD. This can be released for sale to the public in a variety of different formats. In most cases, the single is a song that is released separately from an album, but it can still appear...

. Other early modular Moog users were Bread
Bread
Bread is a staple food prepared by cooking a dough of flour and water and often additional ingredients. Doughs are usually baked, but in some cuisines breads are steamed , fried , or baked on an unoiled frying pan . It may be leavened or unleavened...

 on 'London Bridge' released in 1969, Leon Russell
Leon Russell
Claude Russell Bridges , known professionally as Leon Russell, is an American musician and songwriter, who has recorded as a session musician, sideman, and maintained a solo career in music....

 on "Stranger In A Strange Land
Leon Russell and the Shelter People
Leon Russell and The Shelter People is an album by singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Leon Russell, released in 1971. It peaked at number 17 on the Billboard Hot 200.-History:...

" (programmed by Terry Manning
Terry Manning
Terry Manning is a music producer, songwriter, photographer and recording engineer known for work in rock, rhythm and blues, and pop music genres....

), recorded in 1970, and Terry Manning
Terry Manning
Terry Manning is a music producer, songwriter, photographer and recording engineer known for work in rock, rhythm and blues, and pop music genres....

's Home Sweet Home
Home Sweet Home (Terry Manning album)
Home Sweet Home is a solo album by rock music producer and artist Terry Manning, originally begun as a joke, but later turning into a release now considered an innovative classic by many rock collectors. Manning licensed the album for vinyl release by Stax Records' Enterprise label in 1970, and...

, (programmed by Dr. Robert Moog himself) recorded in 1968, but released in 1970. The Beatles
The Beatles
The Beatles were an English rock band, active throughout the 1960s and one of the most commercially successful and critically acclaimed acts in the history of popular music. Formed in Liverpool, by 1962 the group consisted of John Lennon , Paul McCartney , George Harrison and Ringo Starr...

 have also experimented with the use of the Moog synthesizer during the recording of their album, Abbey Road, used prominently in the songs "Maxwell's Silver Hammer
Maxwell's Silver Hammer
"Maxwell's Silver Hammer" is a song by The Beatles, on their album, Abbey Road, sung by Paul McCartney. It was written by McCartney, though credited to Lennon–McCartney.-Background:...

", "Because
Because (The Beatles song)
"Because" is a song written by John Lennon and recorded by The Beatles in 1969. It features a prominent three-part vocal harmony by Lennon, McCartney and George Harrison, overdubbed three times to make nine voices in all...

", "Here Comes the Sun
Here Comes the Sun
"Here Comes the Sun" is a song by George Harrison from The Beatles' 1969 album Abbey Road. It is regarded as one of the most popular Beatles songs. The song was written while Harrison was away from all of these troubles...

", and "I Want You (She's So Heavy)
I Want You (She's So Heavy)
"I Want You " is a song by The Beatles, from their album Abbey Road. It was written by John Lennon, although credited to Lennon–McCartney....

".

The success of Switched-On Bach sparked a slew of other synthesizer records in the late 1960s to mid 1970s. Most of these albums featured covers
Cover version
In popular music, a cover version or cover song, or simply cover, is a new performance or recording of a contemporary or previously recorded, commercially released song or popular song...

 of songs arranged for Moog synthesizer in the most dramatic and flamboyant way possible, covering rock, country and other genres of music. The albums often had "Moog" in their titles (i.e. Country Moog Classics, Martin Denny
Martin Denny
Martin Denny was an American piano-player and composer best known as the "father of exotica." In a long career that saw him performing well into his 80s, he toured the world popularizing his brand of lounge music which included exotic percussion, imaginative rearrangements of popular songs, and...

's Exotic Moog, Gershon Kingsley
Gershon Kingsley
Gershon Kingsley a contemporary German American composer, is well known as a pioneer of electronic music and the Moog synthesizer and founder of the First Moog Quartet, as a partner in the famous electronic music duo Perrey and Kingsley, and for his rock-inspired compositions for Jewish religious...

's Music To Moog By etc.) although many used a variety of other brands of synthesizers and even organs
Organ (music)
The organ , is a keyboard instrument of one or more divisions, each played with its own keyboard operated either with the hands or with the feet. The organ is a relatively old musical instrument in the Western musical tradition, dating from the time of Ctesibius of Alexandria who is credited with...

 as well. The kitsch appeal of these albums continue to have a small fanbase and the 1990s band The Moog Cookbook
The Moog Cookbook
The Moog Cookbook is the name of an electronica band made up of Brian Kehew and Roger Joseph Manning Jr. as a parody/tribute to the novelty "Moog records" of the late 1960s and early 1970s. The duo performs exclusively on analog synthesizers, especially Moog synthesizers...

 is a tribute to this style of music. Indeed, considering it was the first practical and widely-used analog synthesizer, many people came to use "moog" to refer to music synthesizers.

1970s



One of the most important and successful uses of the Moog in popular music in the early-to-mid 1970s was the extended collaboration between Stevie Wonder
Stevie Wonder
Stevland Hardaway Morris , better known by his stage name Stevie Wonder, is an American singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, record producer and activist...

 and electronic musicians Malcolm Cecil
Malcolm Cecil
Malcolm Cecil is a British jazz bassist and Grammy Award-winning record producer.A founding member of the UK's leading jazz quintet of the late 1950s, The Jazz Couriers, he went on to join a number of British jazz combos led by Dick Morrissey, Tony Crombie and Ronnie Scott in the late 50s and...

 and Robert Margouleff
Robert Margouleff
Robert Margouleff is a Grammy Award winning American record producer, recording engineer, electronic music pioneer, audio expert, and film producer....

 on the series of albums Wonder released during this period. These recordings made extensive use of the duo's large synthesiser system, which they dubbed TONTO (an acronym for "The Original New Timbral Orchestra"), reputedly the world's first and largest multitimbral polyphonic analog synthesizer. Designed and constructed by Cecil, it was based on Moog Series III components, together with additional modules made by other manufacturers including ARP
ARP Instruments, Inc.
ARP Instruments, Inc. was an American manufacturer of electronic musical instruments, founded by Alan Robert Pearlman in 1969. Best known for its line of synthesizers that emerged in the early 1970s, ARP closed its doors in 1981 due to financial difficulties...

.

The duo's 1971 album Zero Time -- released under the pseudonym "Tonto's Expanding Head Band
Tonto's Expanding Head Band
Tonto's Expanding Head Band was a British electronic music duo consisting of Malcolm Cecil and Robert Margouleff. Despite releasing only two albums in the early 1970s, the duo were influential because of their session work for other musicians , extensive commercial advertising work and the unique...

" -- gained critical acclaim and attracted the attention of many musicians including Wonder. He first worked with Cecil, Margouleff and TONTO
Tonto
Tonto may mean:* Tonto, a band of Apache native Americans.* Tonto, the fictional sidekick to the Lone Ranger.* "Tonto", a song by the American math rock band Battles, from their album Mirrored.** "Tonto+", the EP centered around said song....

 on his 1972 album Music of My Mind
Music of My Mind
- Side One :# "Love Having You Around" – 7:21#* Stevie Wonder – lead vocal, background vocal, Fender Rhodes, talk box, drums, Moog bass#* Art Baron – trombone#* Background Singers – uncredited...

and the collaboration continued and expanded over his subsequent albums, Talking Book
Talking Book
Talking Book is the fifteenth album by Stevie Wonder, released on October 28, 1972. A signal recording of his "classic period", in this one he "hit his stride"...

(1972), which won several Grammy awards, Innervisions
Innervisions
Innervisions is the sixteenth album by American musician Stevie Wonder, released August 3, 1973 on Motown Records; a landmark recording of his "classic period"...

(1973), which won the 'Album of the Year' Grammy, Fulfillingness' First Finale
Fulfillingness' First Finale
-Side One:#"Smile Please" – 3:28#*Stevie Wonder – lead vocal, background vocal, Fender Rhodes, drums#*Michael Sembello – electric guitar#*Reggie McBride – electric bass#*Bobbye Hall – congas, bongos#*Jim Gilstrap – background vocals...

(1974) and Songs In The Key Of Life
Songs in the Key of Life
Songs in the Key of Life is the 13th album by American recording artist Stevie Wonder, released September 28, 1976, on Motown Records. It was the culmination of his "classic period" albums. An ambitious double LP with a 4-song bonus EP, Songs in the Key of Life became among the best-selling and...

(1976).

A more portable version was created and the "Minimoog" was played by a number of musicians, most notably by Jan Hammer
Jan Hammer
Jan Hammer is a composer, pianist and keyboardist. He first gained his most visible audience while playing keyboards with the Mahavishnu Orchestra in the early 1970s, as well as his film scores for television and film including "Miami Vice Theme" and "Crockett's Theme", from the popular 1980s...

 in the Mahavishnu Orchestra beginning in 1971. The Mini Moog proved versatile enough to allow Hammer to solo with equal musicality/facility to that of his colleagues John McLaughlin on guitar and Jerry Goodman on violin . Avant garde jazz musician Sun Ra
Sun Ra
Sun Ra was a prolific jazz composer, bandleader, piano and synthesizer player, poet and philosopher known for his "cosmic philosophy," musical compositions and performances. He was born in Birmingham, Alabama...

 often used the Moog as his instrument of choice to achieve his unique sound. A custom Moog Modular System was also featured prominently on Emerson, Lake & Palmer
Emerson, Lake & Palmer
Emerson, Lake & Palmer, also known as ELP, are an English progressive rock supergroup. They found success in the 1970s and sold over forty million albums and headlined large stadium concerts. The band consists of Keith Emerson , Greg Lake and Carl Palmer...

's song "Lucky Man", Keith Emerson
Keith Emerson
Keith Noel Emerson is an English keyboard player and composer. Formerly a member of the Keith Emerson Trio, John Brown's Bodies, The T-Bones, V.I.P.s, P.P. Arnold's backing band, and The Nice , he was a founder of Emerson, Lake & Palmer , one of the early supergroups, in 1970...

's Moog solo at the end making it arguably the group's most popular piece. Another famous use of the Moog was in Tangerine Dream
Tangerine Dream
Tangerine Dream is a German electronic music group founded in 1967 by Edgar Froese. The band has undergone many personnel changes over the years, with Froese being the only continuous member...

's electronic landmark album Phaedra
Phaedra (album)
-Personnel:* Edgar Froese – producer, Mellotron, guitar, bass, VCS 3 synthesizer, organ* Christopher Franke – Moog synthesizer, VCS 3 synthesizer* Peter Baumann – Organ, electric piano, VCS 3 synthesizer, flute-Chart performance:-References:*...

in 1974, which was a major hit in the UK—it reached #15 on the British album charts and playing a significant role in establishing the fledgling independent label Virgin Records
Virgin Records
Virgin Records is a British record label founded by English entrepreneur Richard Branson, Simon Draper, and Nik Powell in 1972. The company grew to be a worldwide music phenomenon, with platinum performers such as Roy Orbison, Devo, Genesis, Keith Richards, Janet Jackson, Culture Club, Lenny...

.

Perhaps the most commercially-successful, pop-industry recording primarily featuring the Moog was of Popcorn (instrumental)
Popcorn (instrumental)
"Popcorn" is an early electronic pop instrumental, originally composed by Gershon Kingsley in 1969 on his album Music to Moog By. The same year this tune was released and recorded at Audio Fidelity Records label in New York City....

 performed by Hot Butter
Hot Butter
Hot Butter was an instrumental cover band fronted by the keyboard player Stan Free. The other band members were Dave Mullaney, John Abbott, Bill Jerome, Steve Jerome, and Danny Jordan. They are best known for their 1972 cover of the Moog synthpop instrumental, "Popcorn", originally recorded by its...

 and released in 1972, which made #1 in Australia and in a series of European countries, and made the Top 10 in both the UK #5 and in US #9.

In 1974 the German electronic group Kraftwerk
Kraftwerk
Kraftwerk is an influential electronic music band from Düsseldorf, Germany. The group was formed by Ralf Hütter and Florian Schneider in 1970, and was fronted by them until Schneider's departure in 2008...

 further popularized the sound of the synthesizer with their landmark album Autobahn
Autobahn (album)
Autobahn is the fourth studio album by German electronic band Kraftwerk, released in November 1974. The 22-minute title track "Autobahn" was edited to about 3 minutes for single release and reached number 25 on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart, and performed even higher around Europe, including...

, which used several types of synthesizer including a Minimoog. A single featuring an edited version of the title track became an international hit in early 1975, reaching #25 in the USA and #11 in the UK. Gary Wright was one of the first musicians to perfect the Moog sound on his album The Dream Weaver
The Dream Weaver
The Dream Weaver is a hit solo album by one-time Spooky Tooth keyboard player Gary Wright released in June 1975.The album was said by Wright to be the first-ever all-synthesizer/keyboard album - it features Wright on vocals and keyboards and Jim Keltner and Andy...

.

German-based Italian producer-composer Giorgio Moroder
Giorgio Moroder
Hansjörg "Giorgio" Moroder is an Italian record producer, songwriter and performer based in Los Angeles. When in Munich in the 1970s, he started his own record label called Oasis Records, which several years later became a subdivision of Casablanca Records...

 helped to shape the development of disco
Disco
Disco is a genre of dance music. Disco acts charted high during the mid-1970s, and the genre's popularity peaked during the late 1970s. It had its roots in clubs that catered to African American, gay, psychedelic, and other communities in New York City and Philadelphia during the late 1960s and...

 music by incorporating the Moog synthesizer in the 1975 Donna Summer
Donna Summer
LaDonna Adrian Gaines , known by her stage name, Donna Summer, is an American singer/songwriter who gained prominence during the disco era of the 1970s. She has a mezzo-soprano vocal range. Summer is a five-time Grammy winner and was the first artist to have three consecutive double albums reach...

 hit "Love to Love You Baby". The use of the synthesizer created the sensual feel that is characteristic of disco
Disco
Disco is a genre of dance music. Disco acts charted high during the mid-1970s, and the genre's popularity peaked during the late 1970s. It had its roots in clubs that catered to African American, gay, psychedelic, and other communities in New York City and Philadelphia during the late 1960s and...

 and paved the way for Donna Summer
Donna Summer
LaDonna Adrian Gaines , known by her stage name, Donna Summer, is an American singer/songwriter who gained prominence during the disco era of the 1970s. She has a mezzo-soprano vocal range. Summer is a five-time Grammy winner and was the first artist to have three consecutive double albums reach...

's landmark hit "I Feel Love
I Feel Love
"I Feel Love" is a song by Donna Summer, taken from her 1977 concept album I Remember Yesterday.The song constituted the "future" segment of the album, which represented a stylistic progress through time...

" in 1977. The Moog bassline in this song, combined with the syn-drum created the hi-NRG
Hi-NRG
Hi-NRG describes a form of high-tempo disco music as well as a genre of electronic dance music originating in the United States during the late 1970s...

 category of disco music.

In 1976, the Gordon Lightfoot standard The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald
The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald
"The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald" is a song written, composed and performed by Canadian Gordon Lightfoot to commemorate the sinking of the bulk carrier SS Edmund Fitzgerald on Lake Superior on November 10, 1975. It was inspired by the Newsweek article on the event, "The Cruelest Month", which...

 would feature a Moog unit that appears on the verse that included the line ... "and later that night when its lights went out of sight, came the wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald."

On the 1977 Beach Boys
The Beach Boys
The Beach Boys are an American rock band, formed in 1961 in Hawthorne, California. The group was initially composed of brothers Brian, Dennis and Carl Wilson, their cousin Mike Love, and friend Al Jardine. Managed by the Wilsons' father Murry, The Beach Boys signed to Capitol Records in 1962...

 album Love you
Love You (album)
Love You is the twenty-first studio album by the American rock group The Beach Boys, released in April 1977. Almost entirely written and performed by Brian Wilson, it sharply divides critics' opinions from then and now on the project. Some feel that this record is Wilson's real return to form in...

, Brian Wilson
Brian Wilson
Brian Douglas Wilson is an American musician, best known as the leader and chief songwriter of the group The Beach Boys. Within the band, Wilson played bass and keyboards, also providing part-time lead vocals and, more often, backing vocals, harmonizing in falsetto with the group...

, who composed almost every song on the album, used the Moog on a great number of tracks.

In the late 70s and early 80s, Tejano music
Tejano music
Tejano music or Tex-Mex music is the name given to various forms of folk and popular music originating among the Mexican-American populations of Central and Southern Texas...

 groups such as Mazz
Mazz
Mazz is a Grammy Award–winning Tejano band originating from south Texas. They were formed in Brownsville, TX, by singer/guitarists Jimmy González and Joe López, and emerged as one of the most innovative bands in their genre after adding synthesizer to combine traditional Mexican music and popular...

 began using Moogs which would later be used as part of what is called modern Tejano.

Bernard Herrmann
Bernard Herrmann
Bernard Herrmann was an American composer noted for his work in motion pictures.An Academy Award-winner , Herrmann is particularly known for his collaborations with director Alfred Hitchcock, most famously Psycho, North by Northwest, The Man Who Knew Too Much, and Vertigo...

 also used two Moog synthesizers in his chilling score for Brian de Palma's Sisters (1973 film).

Contemporary composer Christopher R. Morgan used nearly two dozen Moog synthesizers for his second album, "The Quad: C."

Product development


Later Moog modular systems featured improvements to the electronics design, and in the early 1970s Moog introduced new models featuring scaled-down, simplified designs that made them much more stable and well suited to real-time musical performance. In 1970 Moog (R. A. Moog Inc. at that time) began production of the Minimoog
Minimoog
The Minimoog is a monophonic analog synthesizer, invented by Bill Hemsath and Robert Moog. It was released in 1970 by R.A. Moog Inc. , and production was stopped in 1981. It was re-designed by Robert Moog in 2002 and released as Minimoog Voyager.The Minimoog was designed in response to the use of...

 Model D, a small, monophonic three-oscillator keyboard synthesizer which—alongside the British-made VCS-3 — was one of the first widely available, portable and relatively affordable synthesizers. Unlike the early modular systems, the Minimoog was specifically created as a self-contained musical instrument designed for use in live performance by keyboard players. Although its sonic capabilities were drastically reduced from the large modular systems, the Minimoog combined a user-friendly physical design, pitch stability, portability and the ability to create wide range of sounds and effects.

An extremely important Minimoog innovation was the introduction of its now-famous wheel controllers, with which the musician could easily bend pitch and add modulation effects in real time. The two wheels are mounted to the left of the keyboard, next to the lowest key. The function of the Pitch wheel was assigned solely to control oscillator pitch (either sharp or flat from a default, detented, non spring-loaded center position), whereas its neighboring Mod (Modulation) wheel was assignable to control a mixable amount of oscillator 3 and/or Noise routed to the three oscillators and/or the VCF cutoff frequency. In particular, the intuitive function and feel of the Pitch wheel allowed Minimoog users to create similar expressive pitch-bending effects that musicians such as guitarists achieve by physically 'bending' strings and using "whammy" bars.

Although many other types of left hand controllers have been used by various synthesizer manufacturers over the years - including levers, joysticks, ribbon controllers and buttons - the Pitch and Mod wheels introduced on the Minimoog have become de facto standard 'left-hand controllers' and have since been used by almost every major synthesizer manufacturer, including Korg, Yamaha, Kawai and (the now defunct) Sequential Circuits on their ground-breaking Prophet-5 programmable polyphonic synthesizer (1977). A notable exception is the Japanese manufacturer Roland, who have never included Pitch and Modulation wheels on any synthesizer they have produced, opting instead to include alternative controllers of their own design.

The Minimoog was the first product to really solidify the synthesizer's popular image as a "keyboard" instrument and it became the most popular monophonic synthesizer of the 1970s, selling approximately 13,180 units between 1970 and 1981, and it was quickly taken up by leading rock and electronic music groups such as the Mahavishnu Orchestra, Yes
Yes (band)
Yes are an English rock band who achieved worldwide success with their progressive, art, and symphonic style of rock music. Regarded as one of the pioneers of the progressive genre, Yes are known for their lengthy songs, mystical lyrics, elaborate album art, and live stage sets...

, Emerson, Lake & Palmer
Emerson, Lake & Palmer
Emerson, Lake & Palmer, also known as ELP, are an English progressive rock supergroup. They found success in the 1970s and sold over forty million albums and headlined large stadium concerts. The band consists of Keith Emerson , Greg Lake and Carl Palmer...

, Tangerine Dream
Tangerine Dream
Tangerine Dream is a German electronic music group founded in 1967 by Edgar Froese. The band has undergone many personnel changes over the years, with Froese being the only continuous member...

 and Gary Numan
Gary Numan
Gary Numan is an English singer, composer, and musician, most widely known for his chart-topping 1979 hits "Are 'Friends' Electric?" and "Cars". His signature sound consisted of heavy synthesizer hooks fed through guitar effects pedals.Numan is considered a pioneer of commercial electronic music...

. Although the popularity of analog synthesis faded in the 1980s with the advent of affordable digital synthesizers and sampling keyboards, the Minimoog remained a sought-after instrument for producers and recording artists, and it continued to be used extensively on electronic, techno
Techno
Techno is a form of electronic dance music that emerged in Detroit, Michigan in the United States during the mid to late 1980s. The first recorded use of the word techno, in reference to a genre of music, was in 1988...

, dance and disco
Disco
Disco is a genre of dance music. Disco acts charted high during the mid-1970s, and the genre's popularity peaked during the late 1970s. It had its roots in clubs that catered to African American, gay, psychedelic, and other communities in New York City and Philadelphia during the late 1960s and...

 recordings into the 1980s due to its distinctive tonal qualities, particularly that of its patented Moog "ladder" filter.

The rarest Moog production model was the little Minitmoog (1975–1976), a direct descendant of the rather obscure Moog Satellite preset synthesizer. It is rumored that only a few hundred Minitmoogs were made, although firm numbers are unavailable. While it lacked programmability and memory storage, the Minitmoog did offer some forward features, such as keyboard aftertouch and a sync-sweep feature, thanks to its dual voltage controlled oscillators.
A widely used and extremely popular Moog synthesizer was the Taurus
Moog Taurus
The Moog Taurus is a foot-operated analog synthesizer designed and manufactured by Moog Music from 1974 or 1975 to 1981. Commonly called the Taurus I, it has a 13-note organ-style pedal board similar to the pedal keyboard of a spinet organ.-History:...

 bass pedal synthesizer. Released in 1975, its 13-note pedalboard was similar in design to small spinet organ
Organ (music)
The organ , is a keyboard instrument of one or more divisions, each played with its own keyboard operated either with the hands or with the feet. The organ is a relatively old musical instrument in the Western musical tradition, dating from the time of Ctesibius of Alexandria who is credited with...

 pedals and triggered bold, penetrating synthesized bass sounds. The Taurus was known for an especially "fat" bass timbre and was used by the bands Genesis
Genesis (band)
Genesis are an English rock band that formed in 1967. The band currently comprises the longest-tenured members Tony Banks , Mike Rutherford and Phil Collins . Past members Peter Gabriel , Steve Hackett and Anthony Phillips , also played major roles in the band in its early years...

, Rush
Rush (band)
Rush is a Canadian rock band formed in August 1968, in the Willowdale neighbourhood of Toronto, Ontario. The band is composed of bassist, keyboardist, and lead vocalist Geddy Lee, guitarist Alex Lifeson, and drummer and lyricist Neil Peart...

, Electric Light Orchestra
Electric Light Orchestra
Electric Light Orchestra were a British rock group from Birmingham who released eleven studio albums between 1971 and 1986 and another album in 2001. ELO were formed to accommodate Roy Wood and Jeff Lynne's desire to create modern rock and pop songs with classical overtones...

, Yes
Yes (band)
Yes are an English rock band who achieved worldwide success with their progressive, art, and symphonic style of rock music. Regarded as one of the pioneers of the progressive genre, Yes are known for their lengthy songs, mystical lyrics, elaborate album art, and live stage sets...

, Pink Floyd
Pink Floyd
Pink Floyd were an English rock band that achieved worldwide success with their progressive and psychedelic rock music. Their work is marked by the use of philosophical lyrics, sonic experimentation, innovative album art, and elaborate live shows. Pink Floyd are one of the most commercially...

, Parliament-Funkadelic
Parliament-Funkadelic
Parliament-Funkadelic is a funk, soul and rock music collective headed by George Clinton. Their style has been dubbed P-Funk. Collectively the group has existed under various names since the 1960s and has been known for top-notch musicianship, politically charged lyrics, outlandish concept albums...

, Paul Davis, and many others. Production of the original was discontinued in 1981, when it was replaced by the Taurus II, which never achieved the popularity of its predecessor. In November 2009, Moog Music introduced the limited production Moog Taurus 3 pedal synthesizer, which, the company reports, exactly duplicates the original Taurus I timbre and presets, while adding modern features such as velocity sensitivity, greatly expanded memory for user presets, a backlit LC display, and MIDI and USB interfacing. Still, the original Taurus I units are highly sought after and typically command a high resale value on the used market.

Moog Music was the first company to commercially release a keytar
Keytar
A keytar is a relatively lightweight keyboard that is supported by a strap around the neck and shoulders, similar to the way a guitar is supported by a strap. Keytars allow players a greater range of movement compared to conventional keyboards, which are placed on stands...

, the Moog Liberation
Moog Liberation
The Moog Liberation was the first commercially produced keytar synthesizer released in 1980 by Moog Music. The instrument is comparable to the Moog Concertmate MG-1 and the Moog Rogue but it is most closely related to the Moog Prodigy; however, as a keytar the Liberation was designed to be played...

. The last Moog synthesizer released by the original Moog Music, the programmable polyphonic Memorymoog
Memorymoog
The Memorymoog is a polyphonic electronic music synthesizer manufactured by Moog Music from 1981 to 1983, the last polyphonic synthesizer to be released by Moog Music before the company was sold to management and renamed Moog Electronics...

 (and subsequent Memorymoog Plus), was manufactured from 1983 to 1985, just before the company declared bankruptcy in 1986. By the mid-1990s, analog synthesizers were again highly sought after and prized for their classic sound. In 2001, Robert Moog's company Big Briar was able to acquire the rights to the Moog name and officially became Moog Music
Moog Music
Moog Music is an American company based in Asheville, North Carolina which manufactures electronic musical instruments. The current Moog Music is the second company to trade under that name.-R.A. Moog Co. and the original Moog Music:...

. Moog Music has been producing the Minimoog Voyager
Minimoog Voyager
The Minimoog Voyager or Voyager is a monophonic analog synthesizer, designed by Robert Moog and released in 2002 by Moog Music. The Voyager was modeled after the classic Minimoog synthesizer that was popular in the 1970s, and is meant to be a successor to that instrument.-Design:Like the original...

 modeled after the original Minimoog since 2002. As of 2006, more than 15 companies are making Moog-style synthesizer modules.

In March 2006, Moog Music unveiled the Little Phatty
Little Phatty
The Little Phatty is a monophonic analog synthesizer manufactured by Moog Music since 2006, preceded by the Voyager and succeeded by Voyager Old School. Its design was conceived, in part, by Robert Moog himself, and is the last instrument to have that distinction, although the primary engineer was...

 Analog Synthesizer, boasting "hand-built quality and that unmatched Moog sound, at a price every musician can afford". The first limited edition run of 1200 were a Bob Moog Tribute Edition with a Performer edition announced subsequently. In 2011, a number of Moog products can still be purchased, such as Moogerfooger
Moogerfooger
moogerfooger is the trademark for a series of analog effects pedals manufactured by Moog Music. There are currently five different pedals produced, however one of these models is designed for processing control voltages rather than audio signal...

s, Taurus 3 bass pedals and Minimoog Voyager
Minimoog Voyager
The Minimoog Voyager or Voyager is a monophonic analog synthesizer, designed by Robert Moog and released in 2002 by Moog Music. The Voyager was modeled after the classic Minimoog synthesizer that was popular in the 1970s, and is meant to be a successor to that instrument.-Design:Like the original...

s. The original Minimoog however remains so popular that they regularly sell for over US$3000 on online auction sites.

List of models

  • Moog modular synthesizer
    Moog modular synthesizer
    Moog modular synthesizer refers to any of a number of monophonic analog modular synthesizers designed by the late electronic instrument pioneer Dr. Robert Moog and manufactured by R.A Moog Co...

     (1963–1980)
  • Minimoog
    Minimoog
    The Minimoog is a monophonic analog synthesizer, invented by Bill Hemsath and Robert Moog. It was released in 1970 by R.A. Moog Inc. , and production was stopped in 1981. It was re-designed by Robert Moog in 2002 and released as Minimoog Voyager.The Minimoog was designed in response to the use of...

     (1970–1981)
  • Moog Satellite (1974–1979)
  • Moog Sonic 6
    Moog Sonic 6
    The Moog Sonic 6 is a duophonic analog synthesizer that was manufactured by Moog Music from 1972 to 1979...

     (1974–1979)
  • Minitmoog (1975–1976)
  • Micromoog
    Micromoog
    The Micromoog is a monophonic analog synthesizer produced by Moog Music from 1975 to 1979.The Micromoog was designed by Robert Moog and Jim Scott as a scaled-down, cheaper alternative to the Minimoog. It was designed to tap into a market of musicians who wanted an introduction to synthesis, but...

     (1975–1979)
  • Polymoog
    Polymoog
    The Polymoog is a polyphonic analog synthesizer that was manufactured by Moog Music from 1975 to 1980. The Polymoog was based on divide-down oscillator technology similar to electronic organs and string synthesizers of the time, and this led to a certain lack of flexibility compared to later...

     (1975–1980)
  • Moog Taurus
    Moog Taurus
    The Moog Taurus is a foot-operated analog synthesizer designed and manufactured by Moog Music from 1974 or 1975 to 1981. Commonly called the Taurus I, it has a 13-note organ-style pedal board similar to the pedal keyboard of a spinet organ.-History:...

     (bass pedals
    Bass pedals
    Bass pedals are an electronic musical instrument with foot-operated pedal keyboard with a range of one or more octaves. The earliest bass pedals from the 1970s consisted of a pedalboard and analog synthesizer tone generation circuitry packaged together as a unit...

    ) (1976–1983)
  • Multimoog
    Multimoog
    The Multimoog is a monophonic analog synthesizer manufactured by Moog Music from 1978 to 1981. Derived from the earlier Micromoog , the Multimoog was intended to be a less expensive alternative to Moog's flagship Minimoog...

     (1978–1981)
  • Moog Prodigy
    Moog Prodigy
    The Moog Prodigy was a synthesizer produced by Moog Music from 1979 to 1984. Of the 11,000 produced, versions released after 1981 included a control voltage/gate input on the back that allowed the VCF of the filter to be triggered and controlled by an external source.These later versions began at...

     (1979–1984)
  • Moog Liberation
    Moog Liberation
    The Moog Liberation was the first commercially produced keytar synthesizer released in 1980 by Moog Music. The instrument is comparable to the Moog Concertmate MG-1 and the Moog Rogue but it is most closely related to the Moog Prodigy; however, as a keytar the Liberation was designed to be played...

     (1980)
  • Moog Opus-3 (1980)
  • Moog Concertmate MG-1
    Moog Concertmate MG-1
    - Background :The Realistic Concertmate MG-1 is an analog synthesizer manufactured by Moog Music in 1981. Though built by Moog, it was sold by Radio Shack from 1982 to 1983 under their "Realistic" brand name and it was produced without some standard Moog features, such as pitch and modulation...

     (1981)
  • Moog Rogue
    Moog Rogue
    The Moog Rogue is a monophonic analog synthesizer produced by the original Moog Music in the early 1980s, but, was not designed by Bob Moog. Very basic in its design and use, the Rogue featured a 32-note keyboard and two VCOs. VCO number 2 is tunable between a half-step below to an octave above...

     (1981)
  • Moog Source
    Moog Source
    The Moog Source is a monophonic Z80 microprocessor-controlled analog synthesizer manufactured by Moog Music from 1981 to 1985. The Source was Moog's first synthesizer to offer patch memory storage...

     (1981)
  • Memorymoog
    Memorymoog
    The Memorymoog is a polyphonic electronic music synthesizer manufactured by Moog Music from 1981 to 1983, the last polyphonic synthesizer to be released by Moog Music before the company was sold to management and renamed Moog Electronics...

     (1982–1985)
  • Moogerfooger
    Moogerfooger
    moogerfooger is the trademark for a series of analog effects pedals manufactured by Moog Music. There are currently five different pedals produced, however one of these models is designed for processing control voltages rather than audio signal...

     (1998–present)
  • Minimoog Voyager
    Minimoog Voyager
    The Minimoog Voyager or Voyager is a monophonic analog synthesizer, designed by Robert Moog and released in 2002 by Moog Music. The Voyager was modeled after the classic Minimoog synthesizer that was popular in the 1970s, and is meant to be a successor to that instrument.-Design:Like the original...

     (2002–present)
  • Little Phatty
    Little Phatty
    The Little Phatty is a monophonic analog synthesizer manufactured by Moog Music since 2006, preceded by the Voyager and succeeded by Voyager Old School. Its design was conceived, in part, by Robert Moog himself, and is the last instrument to have that distinction, although the primary engineer was...

     (2006–present)
  • Old School
    Moog old school
    The Moog "Old School" is an analog subtractive synthesizer designed to be a direct placement for the Minimoog Model D. It was first introduced in April, 2008 and as of January 15th, 2009, has been discontinued...

     (2008–2009)
  • Slim Phatty
    Slim Phatty
    The Slim Phatty is a monophonic analog synthesizer manufactured by Moog Music since 2011. It is considered to be an entry-level synthesizer in the Moog family. Its design is based on the Little Phatty, which in turn is a more modernized version of the Minimoog Voyager. It is among the first...

     (2010)
  • Taurus 3 bass pedal (2011)

External links

  • Using the Moog synthesizer
  • The Bob Moog Foundation
  • Waves of Inspiration: The Legacy of Moog—an exhibit at the Museum of Making Music, National Association of Music Merchants, Carlsbad, California, in collaboration with the Bob Moog Foundation
  • Robert Moog discography at Discogs
    Discogs
    Discogs, short for discographies, is a website and database of information about audio recordings, including commercial releases, promotional releases, and bootleg or off-label releases. The Discogs servers, currently hosted under the domain name discogs.com, are owned by Zink Media, Inc., and are...