Robert Moog ‘electrified’ in Google Doodle today

23 May 2012

Today's interactive Google Doodle to celebrate musical pioneer Robert Moog

New Yorker Robert Moog is today’s vibrant Google Doodle subject on what would be the 78th birthday of the American pioneer of electronic music. He is best known as being the inventor of the Moog synthesiser.

In an innovative twist from Google, you can interact with the digital version of the Moog synthesiser that’s splayed across the Google logo on Google’s homepage today by clicking on the keys of the keyboard, plus you can also create your own musical compositions. Our video below gives you a tutorial on how to use it.

Moog himself was born on 23 May 1934 in New York. He attended the Bronx High School of Science.

At the age of 14 he built his own version of the Theremin, pioneered by Leon Theremin, which is widely acclaimed as being the first electronic instrument in the world.

Moog got a bachelor’s degree in physics from Queens College, New York in 1957, as well as a degree in electrical engineering from Columbia University and a PhD in engineering physics  from Cornell University.

In collaboration with another electronic music pioneer Herb Deutsch, Moog invented the Moog synthesiser in 1964. The synthesiser was one of the first widely used electronic musical instruments and began to gain attention in the music industry after it was demonstrated at the Monterey International Pop Festival in 1967.

Walter Carlos was the first to use the Moog synthesiser as his sole instrument in the 1968 release Switched-On Bach.

Moog also created other electronic equipment related to the production, performance, and recording of popular music.

Robert (Bob) Moog (1934-2005)

Robert (Bob) Moog (1934-2005). Image credit: Robert Moog Memorial Foundation’s Facebook page

Moog died of brain cancer on 21 August 2005 in Asheville, North Carolina at the age of 71. Following his passing, Moog’s family set up the Robert Moog Memorial Foundation, with the aim of passing on his musical legacy around the intersection of music, science, history and innovation.

Video: How to use the Moog Synthesizer Doodle

Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic