Moog synthesizer  

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Moog synthesizer may refer to any number of analog synthesizers designed by Dr. Robert Moog or manufactured by 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 systems in the mid 1960s. The technological development that led to the creation of the Moog synthesizer was the invention of the transistor, which enabled researchers like Moog to build electronic music systems that were considerably smaller, cheaper and far more reliable than earlier vacuum tube-based systems.

The Moog synthesizer gained wider attention in the music industry after it was demonstrated at the Monterey International Pop Festival in 1967. The commercial breakthrough of a Moog recording was made by Wendy Carlos in the 1968 record Switched-On Bach, which became one of the highest-selling classical music recordings of its era. The success of Switched-On Bach sparked a slew of other synthesizer records in the late 1960s to mid-1970s.

Later Moog modular systems featured various improvements, such as a scaled-down, simplified, self-contained musical instrument designed for use in live performance.

Moog synthesizers in culture

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."

It is believed that the first phonograph record to feature a Moog synthesizer was Cosmic Sounds by The Zodiac. The first popular music album to feature the instrument was 1967's Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn, & Jones, Ltd. by The Monkees. Wendy Carlos (formerly Walter Carlos) released major Moog albums in 1968 and 1969: Switched-On Bach and The Well-Tempered Synthesizer. The former earned Carlos three Grammys. Also in 1969, The Beatles used a Moog throughout the Abbey Road album, and Dick Hyman's recording of his jazz composition "The Minotaur" became the first Billboard Top 40 hit single.

The success of Carlos' Switched-On Bach sparked a series of other synthesizer records in the late 1960s to mid 1970s. These albums featured covers 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's Exotic Moog, etc.) although many used a variety of other brands of synthesizers and even organs as well. The kitsch appeal of these albums continue to have a small fanbase and the 1990s band Moog Cookbook is a tribute to this style of music.

The synthesizer was used for the soundtrack of the 1971 movie A Clockwork Orange. Carlos wrote all the original music for the Moog, along with several Moog versions of classical music, to create an eerie mood to express the strange society of the movie.

A popular Moog user (and programmer) is Stevie Wonder who won numerous Grammy awards in 1973 for his synthesizer rich Talking Book and also in 1974 where he grabbed the 'Album of the Year' award with yet another Moog-tinted album Innervisions. Sun Ra often used it as his instrument of choice to achieve his unique sound. It was also featured prominently on Emerson, Lake & Palmer's song "Lucky Man," Keith Emerson'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's electronic landmark album Phaedra in 1974. Glenn Tilbrook, a member of the new wave band Squeeze, was also known to use the Mini Moog with regularity.

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Moog synthesizer" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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