Let's show Bob Moog lots of love this August 21, 2015!

Posted: 8/1/2015 12:29:05 AM
ThereminCat

Joined: 7/13/2015

Wow! Thanks for the clarification :) I still don't know why the Etherwave Pro isn't sold by Moog Music anymore...

Yes, I've talked about his mystical side which I admire, especially the relationship between musician and musical instrument. I'm sure there's a lot I don't know yet, would you care to elaborate on that? Or how he helped Clara Rockmore come out of retirement? :)

Posted: 8/1/2015 12:54:55 AM
rkram53

From: Northern NJ, USA

Joined: 7/29/2014

OK. TC. You can get the accompaniment here:

Amazing Grace Accompaniment

Two statements of the melody - the second up a perfect fourth with a little phrase repeat at the end.

The score for it is here if anyone is the slightest bit interested (it includes alternate piano version that's basically the same as the string parts):

Amazing Grace Score

Sorry, I made it a tad dissonant/chromatic in places. The song is after all about a very troubled soul. Not sure why it's always done so sweetly (perhaps Bob Moog would not have liked it too saccharine). Though it sounds a lot less discordant with the melody as the accompaniment does not double the tune and tries to stay out of the way of the theremin. (Actually, I played it for someone and they said - not dissonant enough!)

As to how appropriate this song is for him, I have no idea. Being spiritual does not necessarily mean religious.

Rich

 

 

Posted: 8/1/2015 2:41:40 AM
ThereminCat

Joined: 7/13/2015

Wow, thanks so much! :D It's beautiful! I think Bob Moog would approve :)

 

It's not too dissonant at all, it's like a soulful blues rendition - how did you know I'm a big fan of jazz and gospel? :D

You're right, he was spiritual in a general and non-traditional way, I'm not even sure what religion he was a part of. It would be interesting to find out though. I suggested the song because it's one he played well on the theremin, and it is very beautiful :)

This commentary from http://www.theguardian.com/books/2010/jan/09/moog-my-hero-don-paterson provides some insight into his beliefs, I only wish the writer hadn't disagreed with Dr. Moog's ideas :3

"More than any 20th-century inventor you could name, Moog warmed up the wires and humanised the machine. He was a spiritual man who believed in nothing but material, though he treated matter as a form of energy (which of course it is), one we barely understand. As for his idea that all matter has a residual consciousness . . . well – beyond the hard-won lesson that if you don't love machines, they won't love you back – I'm sceptical. But not only did Moog elaborate this idea with great intellectual sophistication (his wife was a professor in the philosophy of religion), he set about proving it, up to his elbows in Bessel functions and Fourier transforms and circuitboards. His respect for material allowed him to draw the most beautiful sounds out of the ether; in doing so, Bob Moog simply increased the human expressive range. Some toolmaker."

Well, based on the past week which is just the beginning of hopefully a lifetime bond with my new theremin, I'm not skeptical :)

Posted: 8/4/2015 7:40:51 PM
ThereminCat

Joined: 7/13/2015

Wendy Carlos made this beautiful drawing of Bob Moog - she is the creator of many great Moog synthesizer albums including Switched On Bach!

"Whenever I've lost someone dear to me it has generally felt right and proper to create a pencil sketch of them to add to the website, and have "floating around in the Ether" of the Internet. The drawing at the top of this page is one I made just after receiving word from Ileana that her husband's condition was very grave. Four days later we learned that it was over. In some haste I added the sketch with Bob's dates to the Index Page, as a placeholder for this new page, which now supplants that temporary addition." -Wendy Carlos

Posted: 8/4/2015 10:42:09 PM
rkram53

From: Northern NJ, USA

Joined: 7/29/2014

Perhaps you want to include the moving story behind the picture:

http://www.wendycarlos.com/moog/

 

Posted: 8/5/2015 1:53:29 AM
ThereminCat

Joined: 7/13/2015

Thank you very much @Rkram53! The piece was so beautiful and touching! I didn't know they were such good friends! I will include an excerpt from  http://www.wendycarlos.com/moog/

 

"A good friend and wonderful human being is no more. Bob Moog lost his battle with a brain tumor on August 21, 2005, at his home in Asheville, NC. He was surrounded by his family and died so gradually and peacefully you couldn't be more exact than to say it was around 2 PM.

Bob and I were friends for about 41 years. That sounds incomprehensible now, but there you are. We met when I accidentally woke him up. He was taking a much needed nap on a banquette on the Mezzanine of the Barbizon-Plaza Hotel, in NYC. The Moog Company had setup an exhibit at one of the yearly AES conferences (the Audio Engineering Society was a LOT smaller back then, and more informal -- even the tech papers were free and handy, open to anyone attending the exhibits).

This was my first AES show. One of my professors at Columbia, Vladimir Ussachevsky (who also knew Bob), had suggested that as one of his more technically curious graduate students I might enjoy wandering around the 1964 exhibit for a few hours. So I took a break between classes to subway down to midtown, and was gawking around during a slow early afternoon, when most people were off to lunch.

There were mikes and consoles and tape machines of all sorts, all pretty impressive. Then I spotted a small booth that had something called "Moog Synthesizer Modules." And sunuvvagun, there they were: voltage-controlled oscillators, filters, envelopers, controllers -- things the still primitive world of electroacoustic music long needed! I must have made noises, for suddenly I saw a figure stir and rise up to greet me.

Bob looked tired but friendly, and we chatted briefly, traded phone numbers and addresses. It didn't take long to establish a budding friendship. It was a perfect fit: he was a creative engineer who spoke music: I was a musician who spoke science. It felt like a meeting of simpatico minds, like he were my older brother, perhaps.

Soon I was to become one of his early customers, after composer Herb Deutsch, who was crucial to the development of the modules, Alwin Nikolai, an experimental dance guru, and Eric Siday, a composer and commercial music hero I befriended a couple of years later, thanks to Bob. By early 1966 we were making plans for an initial custom instrument.

This first modest design Bob eventually delivered himself, to my tiny walkup studio apartment on West End Avenue near 79th Street. We carried it up together from his station wagon. It was a lot more than I expected, a gorgeous walnut cabinet with many additional adjunct devices and wiring. These were in addition to what seemed a good starting point: three oscillators (a magic number, or five later on, since two or four don't blend as well), a white noise source, a few envelopers, a few filters, amplifiers, power supply, and so on. Pretty modest now, but in the mid 60s this was cutting edge! (Here's what the final synth grew into ten years later.)

Several chapters of a book can easily be inserted here to cover the years from 1966-68 (there's a lot of the story in the liner notes to most of the "Switched-On" albums, particularly the comprehensive booklet found in the "Switched-On Boxed Set"). In any event, we quickly worked out what was still missing and probably important (don't know for sure until you try...), allowing our ideas to jump back and forth, while zeroing in on what would permit genuinely "musical" electronic music to be made.

Ever modest, Bob always deferred on musical matters to those of us who came from that side of the art/tech equation. We, on the other hand, deferred to Bob on all engineering decisions and designs. From the beginning it was a balanced yin/yang relationship between a maker of musical tools and the artists who used those tools. It doesn't seem to work that way much anymore, and more's the pity.

Bob realized he needed an effective demonstration disk for his company's new customers. As a struggling young composer with few funds, I was able to "barter" my time and skills in recording, composing, and assembling a professional Moog demo LP, toward the purchase of additional synth components. Bob asked me to fly up to Trumansburg to work with him on the script, then I rushed back to assemble something for the Fall 1967 AES Convention. Fortunately I'd saved a lot of amusing brief "learning pieces" that Summer which came in handy to show off what these new instruments could do. It was an enjoyable project, part of a flurry of work completed in a few short, hectic years.

At the end of the adventure, by the Spring of 1968, the first custom velocity and depth sensitive keyboards (something I was particularly involved with: physical construction, reworking, final adjusting) were kludged together. Actually EVERYthing Bob built always looked slick and professional, even the kludges. Finally an album you've probably heard of was about to become my "maiden voyage" with the synthesizer. Other key people became involved, such as my collaborator and producer, Rachel Elkind-Tourre, who was essential to the project. Rachel's the one who came up with the idea for a Bach album, and sold it to CBS Records. The title: "Switched-On Bach," that was CBS's suggestion, and a good one, snappier and more memorable than ours ("The Electronic Bach").

When the first sparks of early interest began, it was also Rachel who arranged that Bob appear with us on the "Today" show with Hugh Downs (this long demonstration, with a colorful accompanying "wet" light show, was very probably the first presentation of the synthesizer to a national television audience, and Downs was an excellent, curious, intelligent interviewer). That took place on a frigid morning in early February 1969. Several other radio and TV broadcasts followed in quick succession. The "Today" show segment also launched Bob's career as more of a public presence, a role he gradually became quite adept at. And I think he enjoyed the attention. (I'll never know if inadvertently the show may also have fueled a common misconception of the time that somehow "the synthesizer did it all." Hey, even CBS had signed our synth, not me--wasn't that dopey?)

Through the years since, Bob and I remained in touch, and visited each other often. He was at Digital Keyboards when the pioneering additive/complex modulation synth I've used a lot, the "Synergy", was developed, based on Hal Allis' designs. He was at Kurzweil when I began using their great sounding instruments, finding ways to combine the benefits of "sampling" with the important expressive sound design features of earlier synthesizers, part of what Kurzweil called "VAST." And eventually, he setup Big Briar, in his new hometown of Asheville, NC.

It was a kick for Bob to regain legal use of his own name for his company more recently (wotta concept!), and he actively participated as the electroacoustic field matured and eventually became taken for granted. A true mark of success, that. I loved the perfectly apt image he took on during his last ten years, sort of a benevolent, wise old Swiss Watchmaker. Those knowing hands of his were always a pleasure to see in action.

Bob was the consummate toolmaker. He did it better than anyone else, combining art with technology. Bob was in it for all his life, starting as a teenager building Theremins, to new devices for Raymond Scott, to the synthesizer developments of the past four decades. I'd just written him a long "ketchup" letter, as we frequently did, and thanked him for the generous, charming commentary he wrote for SEAMUS, when they presented me with their Life Achievement Award in April. His message the next morning: he was really glad to hear from me, BUT. He was about to go for a second opinion, because he'd just been diagnosed with some kind of brain tumor. Horrible news, just horrible.

While I sent him several short notes during the treatment: radiation, chemo, Bob never was to write again (he was the rare engineer who actually wrote beautifully, BTW). I checked around the Web for more information on him from the past couple of years while we'd been out of touch. There I discovered that up at the top of his all time favorite albums was my "Beauty in the Beast." Damn. Never knew that before. It had nothing to do with his instruments, but he must have recognized the impetus which drove me to compose that album (I consider it my most important work, you see). Another connection, but too late to thank him.

Two days later the word came from Ileana. It was all over. Fortunately many of us were able to get down to see the family again, be there with them for the funeral and Memorial Gathering the day after. They asked me to speak, too, and play a few excerpts of my music. It was hard to find the proper words, so I just let it flow out honestly, then introduced the selections. I don't recall everything I said, but it was close to what's written here, a story about an intelligent, modest, and lovable man, who helped us define a new medium. I don't know how I'd have been able to start my career if Bob had not been there. And I'll never forget him.

We're all now left to carry one, as the baton is passed in turn to each of us. I ended my comments in the dark hall that afternoon with a brief story by SF author, Jerry Pournelle. When he was a young beginning author somehow he managed an introduction to one of the great SF writers of the 20th Century -- Robert Heinlein. Soon he received a rare invitation: to stop by the master's house for a visit.

The hour passed too swiftly. He floated through it in a glow, thinking just how fortunate he was, learning bits of history, some pithy writing tips from one of the best. And then it was over, and he hastened to say goodbye and leave. Pournelle recalls making his way to the door with a gushy: "Gosh--thank you so much, Mr. Heinlein, I don't know how I can ever pay you back!"

The old man's retort was quick and to the point: "You can't! You pay forward!"

And so it is now with us." 

-Wendy Carlos

Posted: 8/5/2015 2:12:59 AM
ThereminCat

Joined: 7/13/2015

As I work on my drawing of Bob Moog I have been collecting pictures of him, I thought I'd share the most memorable ones :)

 

(http://moogarchives.com/moogther.htm) :)

(http://www.synthtopia.com/content/2010/05/05/bob-moog-signs-the-duck-and-seven-other-great-photos-of-bob-moog/)

Posted: 8/5/2015 2:20:34 AM
ThereminCat

Joined: 7/13/2015

There is a great interview with Bob Moog at http://www.thereminvox.com/article/view/154/1/42.html!

Posted: 8/5/2015 3:53:40 PM
ThereminCat

Joined: 7/13/2015

I hope you enjoyed the pictures, today I'd like to share classic interviews and demonstrations by Bob Moog :)

Posted: 8/5/2015 3:55:45 PM
ThereminCat

Joined: 7/13/2015

Dr. Moog demonstrates the Fairlight :)

Bob Moog: In His Own Wor(l)ds :)

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