"Dr. Robert A. Moog And His Contribution To Electronic Music"

1442 words - 6 pages

May 23, 1934 is a day that any musician should be familiar with. Especially those whom use electronically created sounds in their compositions. Every so often throughout written history a person comes along who is able to jar society and steer it into another direction. In the world of physics that person was Albert Einstein. For African-American civil liberties it was Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Amelia Earhart became a celebrity after she flew a solo flight across the Atlantic during a period when woman's suffrage began to bring about serious recognition. A lesser known individual by the name of Dr. Robert Arthur Moog initiated a ground breaking change in the field of music forever. Prior to his birth on May 23, 1934, music creation as an art had reached their limit with the acceptance of inharmonic compositions such as Stravinsky's Rite of Spring. Yet, almost theatrically occurring at the right moment, Moog invented the Moog Synthesizer. With this advent, the music world was handed the ability to create sound electronically. Moog's accomplishments, though some seemed useless and not practical at the time, laid the foundation for a new branch of music creation that many musicians presently take advantage of.Born in Flushing, New York, Moog studied physics and electrical engineering at Columbia University, and engineering physics at Cornell University. In 1954, while still an undergraduate studying physics at Queens College, New York, by the age of nineteen he formed his own company, the R.A. Moog Company, with the aim of producing a keyboard musical instrument which would replicate the sound of any instrument electronically. Moog's company at first produced several models of the Theremin, an early electronic instrument invented in Russia by Leon Theremin in 1920. Moog's early interest in the Theremin began at the age of fifteen when he obtained "a schematic diagram of the 'original' RCA theremin, and studied it carefully. That was the beginning of my real understanding of what a genius Theremin was." (amazings.com) With a father who had an interest in electronics, and mother with a passion for piano, it seems only natural that he "learned to play the piano as a child, because my mother wanted me to. But what I really wanted to do was fool around with electronics as my father did. When I was 14 I built an electronic instrument, a theremin, from a do-it-yourself magazine article." (newscientist.com) His zeal for the Theremin lead to providing "do-it-yourself" Theremin kits, of which, by the age of nineteen, he sold over one thousand. "'People didn't know what to make of it or what they were going to do with it,' Moog recalls, 'but they knew they wanted to have one.' Some of its first customers were in the TV industry, where the gizmo's chirps and whistles were used for inecartoon noises and other peculiar sounds." (Entertainment Weekly) "In September 1964 he was invited to exhibit his circuits at the Audio Engineering Society Convention. Shortly...

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