Robert Moog

Robert Arthur Moog (/mɡ/ MOHG; May 23, 1934 – August 21, 2005) was an American engineer and electronic music pioneer. He was the founder of the synthesizer manufacturer Moog Music and the inventor of the first commercial synthesizer, the Moog synthesizer, which debuted in 1964. In 1970, Moog released a more portable model, the Minimoog, described as the most famous and influential synthesizer in history. Among Moog's honors are a Technical Grammy Award, received in 2002, and an induction into the National Inventors Hall of Fame.

Robert Moog
Robert Arthur Moog

(1934-05-23)May 23, 1934
DiedAugust 21, 2005(2005-08-21) (aged 71)
Alma materBronx High School of Science
Queens College
Columbia University
Cornell University[1]
OccupationElectronic music pioneer, engineer, inventor of Moog synthesizer
Spouse(s)Shirleigh Moog (m. 1958, div. 1994; three daughters, one son)
Ileana Grams (m. 1996, his death 2005)[1]
RelativesFlorence Moog (aunt)
Bill Moog (cousin, founder of Moog Inc.)[1]

By 1963, Moog had been designing and selling theremins for several years. He developed his synthesizer in response to demand for more practical and affordable electronic music equipment, guided by suggestions and requests from composers. Moog's principal innovation was the voltage-controlled oscillator, which uses voltage to control pitch. He also introduced fundamental synthesizer concepts such as modularity, envelope generation and the pitch wheel. He is credited for bringing synthesizers to a wider audience and influencing the development of popular music.

Moog pursued his work as a hobby, and he is regarded as a poor businessman. His only patent was on his filter design; commentators have speculated that he would have become extremely wealthy had he patented his other innovations, but that their availability in the public domain helped the synthesizer industry flourish.

In 1971, Moog sold Moog Music to Norlin Musical Instruments, where he remained as a designer until 1977. In 1978, he founded the company Big Briar, and in 2002 renamed it Moog Music after buying back the rights to the name. In later years, Moog taught at the University of North Carolina at Asheville, and worked on designs for further instruments. He died at the age of 71 from a brain tumor.

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