Mon . 18 Oct 2018

Robert Moog

robert moog, robert moog's 78th birthday
Robert Arthur "Bob" Moog /ˈmoʊɡ/ MOHG; May 23, 1934 – August 21, 2005, founder of Moog Music, was an American engineer and pioneer of electronic music, best known as the inventor of the Moog synthesizer

During his lifetime, Moog founded two companies for manufacturing electronic musical instruments Moog's innovative electronic design is employed in numerous synthesizers including the Minimoog Model D, Minimoog Voyager, Little Phatty, Sub 37, Moog Taurus Bass Pedals, Moog Minitaur, and the Moogerfooger line of effects pedals


  • 1 Early life and education
  • 2 Career
    • 21 RA Moog Co and Moog Music
    • 22 Development of the Moog synthesizer
    • 23 Theremin
    • 24 Other ventures
  • 3 Personal life
    • 31 Death
  • 4 Legacy
  • 5 Archives
  • 6 Pronunciation
  • 7 See also
  • 8 References
  • 9 External links
    • 91 Interviews and articles
    • 92 Patents
    • 93 Obituaries
    • 94 Tributes

Early life and educationedit

A native of New York City, Moog attended the Bronx High School of Science in New York, graduating in 1952 Moog earned a bachelor's degree in physics from Queens College, New York in 1957, another in electrical engineering from Columbia University, and a PhD in engineering physics from Cornell University


RA Moog Co and Moog Musicedit

Main article: Moog Music The Moog Music logo

In 1953 at age 19, Moog founded his first company, RA Moog Co, to manufacture theremin kits During the 1950s, composer and electronic music pioneer Raymond Scott approached Moog, asking him to design circuits for him Moog later acknowledged Scott as an important influence Later, in the 1960s, the company was employed to build modular synthesizers based on Moog's designs

In 1972 Moog changed the company's name to Moog Music Throughout the 1970s, Moog Music went through various changes of ownership, eventually being bought out by musical instrument manufacturer Norlin Poor management and marketing led to Moog's departure from his own company in 1977

In 1978 after leaving his namesake firm, Moog started making electronic musical instruments again with a new company, Big Briar Their first specialty was theremins, but by 1999 the company expanded to produce a line of analog effects pedals called moogerfoogers In 1999, Moog partnered with Bomb Factory to co-develop the first digital effects based on Moog technology in the form of plugins for Pro Tools software

Despite Moog Music's closing in 1993, Moog did not have the rights to market products using his own name throughout the 1990s Big Briar acquired the rights to use the Moog Music name in 2002 after a legal battle with Don Martin who had previously bought the rights to the name Moog Music At the same time, Moog designed a new version of the Minimoog called the Minimoog Voyager The Voyager includes nearly all of the features of the original Model D in addition to numerous modern features2

Development of the Moog synthesizeredit

Main article: Moog synthesizer

The Moog synthesizer was one of the first widely used electronic musical instruments Early developmental work on the components of the synthesizer occurred at the Columbia-Princeton Electronic Music Center, now the Computer Music Center While there, Moog developed the voltage controlled oscillators, ADSR envelope generators, and other synthesizer modules with composer Herbert Deutsch

Moog created the first voltage-controlled subtractive synthesizer to utilize a keyboard as a controller and demonstrated it at the AES convention in 1964 In 1966, Moog filed a patent application for his unique low-pass filter US Patent 3,475,623, issued in October, 1969 He is a listed inventor on ten US patents34

Moog had his theremin company R A Moog Co, which later became Moog Music manufacture and market his synthesizers Unlike the few other 1960s synthesizer manufacturers, Moog shipped a piano-style keyboard as the standard user interface Moog also established standards for analog synthesizer control interfacing, with a logarithmic one volt-per-octave pitch control and a separate pulse triggering signal

The first Moog instruments were modular synthesizers In 1971 Moog Music began production of the Minimoog Model D, which was among the first synthesizers that was widely available, portable, and relatively affordable The first prototype of the minimoog only had about two filters, two envelope generators, and a very small keyboard Robert knew that this wouldn’t be good enough for the average musician, so he kept working on the synthesizer and was able to add more filters, oscillators, and a wider key range5

One of Moog's earliest musical customers was Wendy Carlos, whom he credits with providing feedback valuable to further development Through his involvement in electronic music, Moog developed close professional relationships with artists such as Don Buchla, Keith Emerson, Rick Wakeman, John Cage, Gershon Kingsley, Clara Rockmore, Jean Jacques Perrey, and Pamelia Kurstin In a 2000 interview, Moog said, "I'm an engineer I see myself as a toolmaker and the musicians are my customers They use my tools"


Moog constructed his own theremin as early as 1948 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, which became very successful In the late 1980s Moog repaired the original theremin of Clara Rockmore, an accomplishment he considered a high point of his professional career6 He also produced, in collaboration with first wife Shirleigh Moog, Mrs Rockmore's album, The Art of the Theremin Moog was a principal interview subject in the award-winning documentary film, Theremin: An Electronic Odyssey, the success of which revived interest in the theremin Moog wrote the foreword to Theremin: Ether Music and Espionage, the biography of Leon Theremin by Albert Glinsky, published in 20007 Moog Music went back to its roots, and once again began manufacturing theremins In 1996 he published another do-it-yourself theremin guide Today, Moog Music is the leading manufacturer of performance-quality theremins

Other venturesedit

He also worked as a consultant and vice president for new product research at Kurzweil Music Systems from 1984 to 1988, helping to develop the Kurzweil K20008 He spent the early 1990s as a research professor of music at the University of North Carolina at Asheville

Personal lifeedit

Moog's first wife was Shirleigh Moog née Leigh, a grammar school teacher whom he married in 1958 The couple had three daughters Laura Moog Lanier, Michelle Moog-Koussa, Renee Moog and one son Matthew Moog before their divorce Moog was married to his second wife Ileana Grams, a philosophy professor, for nine years until his death Moog's stepdaughter, Miranda Richmond, is Grams's daughter from a previous marriage Moog also had five grandchildren


Moog was diagnosed with a glioblastoma multiforme brain tumor on April 28, 2005, and died at the age of 71 in Asheville, North Carolina on August 21, 2005 He is buried in the Lou Pollack Cemetery in Ashevillecitation needed


Moog's awards include honorary doctorates from Polytechnic Institute of New York University New York City, Lycoming College Williamsport, Pennsylvania, and Berklee College of Music9 Moog received a Grammy Trustees Award for lifetime achievement in 1970 In 2002, Moog was honored with a Special Merit/Technical Grammy Award

He gave an enthusiastically-received lecture at the 2004 New Interfaces for Musical Expression NIME-04, held in Hamamatsu, Japan's "City of Musical Instruments", in June, 2004

Moog was the inspiration behind the 2004 film Moog

In 2009 Albert Glinsky was invited by Moog's widow, Ileana Grams Moog, and his daughter, Michelle Moog-Koussa, to write the authorized biography of Bob Moog10 An announcement was made public on the Bob Moog Foundation website on the anniversary of the inventor's birthday11 The Bob Moog Foundation was created as a memorial, with the aim of continuing his life's work of developing electronic music Moog contributed the Foreword to Glinsky's first book, Theremin: Ether Music and Espionage, which has become the standard biography of Leon Theremin

In 2013, Moog was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame


On July 18, 2013, Ileana Grams-Moog said she planned to give her late husband's archives, maintained by Bob Moog Foundation, to Cornell University The foundation offered her $100,000, but Grams-Moog said she would not sell them She said Cornell could provide better access for researchers, and that the foundation had not made enough progress toward a planned museum to indicate it would be worthy of keeping the collection The foundation responded that it had sufficiently preserved the collection and made efforts to improve storage, though it could not afford to build the museum yet12


The surname Moog is often mispronounced The following interview excerpt reveals Robert Moog's preferred pronunciation:

— Reviewer: First off: Does your name rhyme with "vogue" or is like a cow’s "moo" plus a g at the end — Dr Robert Moog: It rhymes with "vogue" That is the usual German pronunciation13 My father's grandfather came from Marburg, Germany I like the way that pronunciation sounds better than the way the cow's "moo-g" sounds14

In a deleted scene from the DVD version of the documentary Moog, Moog describes the three pronunciations of the name Moog: the Dutch /moːɣ/, which he believes would be too demanding of English speakers; the preferred Anglo-German pronunciation, /moʊɡ/; and a more anglicized pronunciation, /muːɡ/ Moog reveals that some of his family members prefer the anglicized pronunciation, while others, including himself and his wife prefer the Anglo-German pronunciation

See alsoedit

  • Bruce Haack
  • Don Buchla
  • Harald Bode
  • Léon Theremin
  • List of brain tumor patients
  • List of Moog synthesizer players
  • Moogfest


  1. ^ a b c "Robert Moog" nndbcom Retrieved 15 February 2015 
  2. ^ Joe Silva, “Bob Moog: Voyage of Discovery” , Sound On Sound, March 2003
  3. ^ "Moog Patents" 
  4. ^ "Moog Patents on USPTO database" 
  5. ^ Richard Leon, “Dr Robert & His Modular Moogs, 1964-1981”, Sound On Sound, Oct 2003
  6. ^ Glinsky, Albert Theremin: Ether Music and Espionage Foreword by Robert Moog University of Illinois Press, 2000, p xii
  7. ^ Glinsky, Albert Theremin: Ether Music and Espionage, University of Illinois Press, 2000
  8. ^ Ray Kurzweil, “Robert Moog 1934-2005” , Wired , Nov 2005
  9. ^ Pinch, Trevor 2002 Analog Days: The Invention and Impact of the Moog Synthesizer 1 ed Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press pp 12–16 ISBN 0-674-00889-8 
  10. ^ Pa professor to write authorized Moog biography, Washington Examiner, 24 May 2012
  11. ^ "You searched for albert glinsky - The Bob Moog Foundation" The Bob Moog Foundation Retrieved 15 February 2015 
  12. ^ Frankel, Jake 2013-08-12 "Family feud continues over Moog archives" Mountain Xpress Retrieved 2013-08-15 
  13. ^ The German pronunciation is moːkʰ The English pronunciation moʊɡ is an approximation
  14. ^ "The Origins of the Synthesizer: An Interview with Dr Robert Moog" Memberstripodcom Retrieved 2012-05-22 

External linksedit

  • Bob Moog — official website
  • The Bob Moog Memorial Foundation for Electronic Music
  • Robert Moog discography at Discogs
  • Robert Moog at the Internet Movie Database
  • Inventor of the Synthesizer Documentary ~ Moog on YouTube
  • Moog Music — official website
  • Moog Archives illustrated history of company and products
  • MoogFest — festival celebrating Moog
  • Moog resources bibliography
  • The Moog Taurus Bass Pedals, the Minimoog and the Moog Prodigy
  • Pictures of Bob Moog
  • Sound samples from the Moog Modular at BlueDistortioncom

Interviews and articlesedit

  • Bob Moog RBMA lecture
  • Bob Moog Interview at electronicmusiccom
  • Article about Bob Moog on SynthMuseumcom
  • Interview with Bob Moog on Amazing Sounds
  • Article about Robert Moog's career on Saloncom
  • Robert Moog interview in magazine New Scientist
  • Radio interview with Moog from 2004 on WNYC RealAudio Moog portion begins 30 minutes into program
  • Sweetwater Video Interview with Bob Moog discussing his design philosophy and future of synthesis, on Sweetwatercom
  • Interview 1993 with Moog about electronic music pioneer Raymond Scott, at RaymondScottnet
  • Modulations, a film featuring interviews with Robert Moog on YouTube
  • Interview with Robert Moog for the NAMM Oral History Program February 25, 2002


  • Descriptive list of Moog patents by J Donald Tillman
  • US Patent 3,475,623 Electronic High-pass and Low-pass Filters Employing the Base-to-Emitter Resistance of Bipolar Transistors, issued October 1969
  • US Patent 4,050,343 Electronic music synthesizer, issued September 1977
  • US Patent 4,108,041 Phase shifting sound effects circuit, issued August 1978
  • US Patent 4,117,413 Amplifier with multifilter, issued September 1978
  • US Patent 4,166,197 Parametric adjustment circuit, issued August 1979
  • US Patent 4,180,707 Distortion sound effects circuit, issued December 1979
  • US Patent 4,202,238 Compressor-expander for a musical instrument, issued May 1980
  • US Patent 4,213,367 Monophonic touch sensitive keyboard, issued July 1980
  • US Patent 4,280,387 Frequency following circuit, issued July 1981
  • US Patent 4,778,951 Arrays of resistive elements for use in touch panels and for producing electric fields, issued October 1988


  • 1 / 2 in BBC News
  • 3 in Asheville Citizen-Times
  • 4 in Los Angeles Times
  • 5 in The New York Times may require free registration to access
  • 6 in The Economist
  • 7 in Mix magazine
  • 8 in The Times


  • Google's tribute to Robert Moog on his 78th birthday in a Google Doodle
  • Bob Moog Guestbook at CaringBridge
  • Switched On and Ready To Rumble from The New York Times
  • A Tribute To Robert Moog — tribute album, entry on Discogs
  • We Will Miss You, Bob Moog from BlueDistortioncom
  • Tribute Video blog about Robert Moog

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