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Everything About Moog Synthesizers

Nov 9, 2007
The range of Moog synthesizers was invented by Dr. Robert Moog around 1966. These synthesizers are large modular ones with quite a few distinct modules connected together by several patch cords, which would route sounds created by oscillators through a set-up of filters and effects. This structure enables the instrument to provide unprecedented flexibility in sound design thereby making the Moog Synthesizer an icon of electronic music culture.

In this decidedly digital age, more and more contemporary musicians and rockers are rediscovering the analog sounds of the Moog synthesizer. Dr. Robert Moog, the inventor started the company Moog Music, initially known as R.A. Moog Co. that manufactured and marketed these synthesizers.

The first Moog instruments were modular synthesizers. In 1971 Moog Music began production of the Minimoog Model D that was among the first extensively available, handy and relatively inexpensive synthesizers. The Moog synthesizers were designed in collaboration with the composers Herbert A. Deutsch, and Wendy Carlos.

Another feather in the cap of the Moog range of synthesizers was the Taurus bass pedal synthesizer that came in 1975. Much like the organ pedals its pedals triggered synthetic bass sounds. The Taurus was known for a "fat" bass sound and was used by the bands Genesis, Rush, Electric Light Orchestra, Yes, Pink Floyd and many others. The modern version of it is known as the Taurus II.

According to the American Physical Society, "The first live performance of a music synthesizer was made by pianist Paul Bley 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."

The Moog synthesizer reached its first zenith of popularity in the late 1960s with the success of Carlos' Switched-On Bach. Actually Wendy Carlos's 1968 album "Switched-On Bach," a collection of synthesized interpretations of Bach classics, was the synthesizer's first commercial success, selling more than 1 million copies. It enthused other musicians and bands to follow suit and accordingly many albums tried to get the name of Moog incorporated into their album names as well, for example Country Moog Classics, Martin Denny's Exotic Moog, etc.

In the present day several Moog products can still be purchased, such as Moogerfoogers, Little Phatty, and Minimoogs. In fact the Minimoog is very popular as they sell for over US$3000 on online auction sites on a regular basis.

In spite of the fact that the Moog Music created so much uproar in the electronic music industry with the Moog synthesizer, yet it failed to survive for long. Later companies like the Arp and Roland took up the onus on themselves to continue in the lines of the Moog as they developed the instrument and came up with other prototypes. As days passed the Moog became all the more sophisticated and affordable.

The last Moog synthesizers were manufactured in 1985 before the original Moog Music 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 has been producing the Minimoog Voyager modeled after the original Minimoog since 2002. As of 2006, more than 15 companies are making Moog-style synthesizer modules.
About the Author
Victor Epand is an expert consultant for guitars, drums, and synthesizers. You can find the best marketplace for guitars, drums, and synthesizers at these 3 sites: guitars, drums, drum sets, and moog synthesizers, minimoog synthesizers.
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