A tribute to Bob Moog, sonic doodler
May 23, 2012 at 6:00 AM
In the mid-1960s, Dr. Robert Moog unleashed a new universe of
sounds into musicdom with his invention of the electronic analog Moog
Synthesizer. The timbre and tones of these keyboard instruments (true
works of art in and of themselves) would come to define a generation of
music, featuring heavily in songs by The Beatles, The Doors, Stevie
Wonder, Kraftwerk and many others.
When people hear the word "synthesizer" they often think
"synthetic"—fake, manufactured, unnatural. In contrast, Bob Moog's
synthesizers produce beautiful, organic and rich sounds that are, nearly
50 years later, regarded by many professional musicians as the epitome
of an electronic instrument. "Synthesizer," it turns out, refers to the
synthesis embedded in Moog's instruments: a network of electronic
components working together to create a whole greater than the sum of
With his passion for high-tech toolmaking in the service of
creativity, Bob Moog is something of a patron saint of the nerdy arts
and a hero to many of us here. So for the next 24 hours on our homepage,
you'll find an interactive, playable logo inspired by the instruments
with which Moog brought musical performance into the electronic age. You
can use your mouse or computer keyboard to control the
mini-synthesizer's keys and knobs to make nearly limitless sounds.
Keeping with the theme of 1960s music technology, we've patched the
keyboard into a 4-track tape recorder so you can record, play back and
share songs via short links or Google+.
Much like the musical machines Bob Moog created, this
doodle was synthesized from a number of smaller components to form a
unique instrument. When experienced with Google Chrome, sound is
generated natively using the Web Audio API—a doodle first (for other
browsers the Flash plugin is used). This doodle also takes advantage of
Google+ API, the Google URL Shortener and App Engine.
Special thanks to engineers Reinaldo Aguiar and Rui Lopes and
doodle team lead Ryan Germick for their work, as well as the Bob Moog
Foundation and Moog Music for their blessing. Now give those knobs a
spin and compose a tune that would make Dr. Moog smile!
Posted by Joey Hurst, Software Engineer