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

Posted: 7/22/2015 3:19:01 AM

Joined: 7/13/2015

This August will be the 10th anniversary of the passing of Bob Moog, who has been such an inspiration to me and the reason I first found a passion for playing theremin!

Expect lots of artwork and even * a theremin composition :) * posted here in the next few weeks!

What will others be doing for the occasion? Any ideas?

Here is an amazing interview with him!

Posted: 7/23/2015 11:35:38 AM

From: Northern NJ, USA

Joined: 7/29/2014

Well if people are interested, we could do a Festschrift-like thing here. A Festschrift is a compendium of scholarly articles honoring a well respected person in some field. Now this is normally an academic thing done for a living person (there is a similar thing called a Gedenkschrift that is dedicated to someone who has died) but we can take the general concept. 

People could either write a short posting on a subject that's related to Bob Moog, or perhaps tell a story about him if they knew him, or maybe tell a story about how he changed their life in some way (he did mine) or the composers out there might write an Homage piece to him. All could be placed in this or some other thread.  

Posted: 7/23/2015 2:15:31 PM

Joined: 7/13/2015

Those are wonderful ideas! Anyone who has access to scholarly articles (I heard Cornell has his archives) is welcome to post about them. I am in fact preparing a story about how much he has changed my own life. I'm creating some drawings as well. Here's the Moog documentary in case anyone wants to view it, it's quite inspiring :) Moog Music has uploaded it to their YouTube channel and I embedded the videos below, I think they also sell DVDs.

I found a well-written review at http://www.purplesneakers.com.au/2013/06/flashback-moog-music-inc/ :

"Synthesizer pioneer and inventor BOB MOOG was probably the coolest nerd on the planet. Thanks to Mr.Moog, the deliverance of the synthesizer and its funny, quirky sounds, which is now heavily used in our music world, was created.

In remembrance of the late Bob MoogMoog Music Inc has released a documentary excelling just over an hour’s worth of footage of Bob and the evolution of Moog instruments for what would have been the man’s 79th birthday. Not only is it extremely interesting, it’s simultaneously quite educational.

His construction of the analog synth was something that took a little while to warm up to, as he contextually explains its strange initiation and acceptance due to the scepticism of electronic instruments, as they were seen as dangerous and phony in comparison to the wood, brass and string families and their traditional usage.

He shows us the building of analog synths and how they operate differently from digital instruments. This is through his detailing of the connectivity of an analog board and its electrical circuit. To put this into practice, every scene welcomes us with the composition of a Moog instrument, and features live performance and discussion from artists such as Money MarkEdd KalehoffDJ LogicKeith Emersonand Stereolab.

We also learn that New York first utilised Moog products in music houses for commercials at their first release, due to the huge price tags of the instruments. Aside from being a new, innovative product, this was primarily because of the amount of time and work that went into one single synthesizer, as they were all handmade instruments. If you want an idea of the value of an original Moog now, some dude is selling a vintage minimoog model for US $5495 on eBay..

Throughout the doco, watch him travel, brushing heads with musicians, DJs and composers as they share Moog memories and discuss the craft of music. We learn about how the synthesizer got its name, the simplicity and elegance of the theremin (the first instrument he ever made for money back in 1954) and Moog instruments’ relevance to design and engineering as well as music and the importance of their evolution. One particular conversation in the doco is between Bob Moog and Rick Wakeman. After Wakeman explains his first minimoog purchase experience, he illustrates the impact Moog synths have made, as they “changed the face of music”. These relationships really highlight the importance of Moog‘s special existence.

After a brief visit to Tokyo, the documentary wraps up with Bob Moog‘s philosophy of reality. He links this with the connectivity of an instrument that he’s built and how that piece of machinery beholds a memory of him. This talk of connection is apparent earlier in the film where he is strolling through his vegetable garden.

It then closes with Moog completely in his element, as he plays his theremin in a leafy, green environment. This is how he’ll be remembered as his legacy will live on forever in what he’s given to music.

A very determined and happy old man, take note of the passion that drove Bob’s life in regards to the things that he loved which is translated cleverly through the compilation of this documentary." (Credit: Hannah Galvin)

Some highlights from the documentary soundtrack:

Posted: 7/25/2015 4:59:49 AM

Joined: 7/13/2015

I am attempting to make a post a day here for Bob Moog, on the days I have access to a computer...

I found this lovely piece of artwork online...so true :)

Expect many updates soon but I am eagerly awaiting the arrival of my first theremin, a beautiful Etherwave - after a long time of dreaming and informal learning through Youtube, music stores and emulators :3 

Ever since learning about Bob Moog and his legacy I knew I wanted a Moog theremin, even if that meant waiting longer and paying more. I was also touched by the fact that "Moog Music synthesizers and effects are lovingly handcrafted at the Moog factory in downtown Asheville, N.C. Each instrument and effect is built to order by real people, just for you." (Moog Music website). And then there's these sweet quotes from Bob Moog himself that he treats his theremins (and synthesizers?) as living and able to connect with people. I just love that.

"The more you get into material and matter, all you realize is in matter, there is energy. There is a blur between energy and consciousness. All material is conscious to some extent or another. All material can respond to some extent or another to vibrations of energy that is different to energy you learn about in physics. There are all sorts of reliable information now on people and animal being able to be able to effect the operations of machines—even of computers—and I think that has great implications for what goes on between a musician and his instrument. There is a level of reality where there is no time, and there is no space, there is just energy. And we have contact with that through the intermediate layers, so, if the right channels—if the right connections are established, I don’t see why a piece of matter, a piece of broken glass or and old record can’t make contact through this very high level of reality that has access to everything past and future. I suppose my instruments do retain some sort of memory of me. I know that when I’m working on them I feel (not explicitly, I don’t hear voices in my head or anything) that I’m making a connection with it. The circuit diagram, that is then converted into a circuit board, which then becomes a part of an instrument is something that is a record that I made. So I guess in that sense it is something that is certainly a memory." (Bob Moog)

"I think it comes from out there, and comes through me into the instrument, and then the music comes through you and the instrument and then out." (Bob Moog)

"Why do you feel at one with your musical instrument? Why do you feel that it is an extension of your hands? There is something going on that is more than just the way the instrument feels and sounds." (Bob Moog)

No doubt that a theremin made by the legacy and heart of Bob Moog will be special and sweet indeed! So as August 21st approaches, I have finally found my theremin, or my theremin found me :) The opportunity arose for me to "adopt" a used Moog Etherwave Plus which will find an excellent and caring home with me! I have already picked out a perfect name for her which I will announce at a later time! 

Thanks to Bob Moog I will have a special and lasting relationship and musical journey with my theremin :)

Posted: 7/25/2015 5:08:38 AM

Joined: 7/13/2015

I can't stop thinking about this touching clip from a movie...I just cried while watching it again. The young lady reminds me of me - and then there's this brilliant, spiritual and kindly inventor who cares about his small business and literally brings his creations to life...  :,)

Here's the rest of the movie if you're interested - I recommend the ending (about 1:10:00), it's the most striking of all the apparent connections to Bob Moog and the theremin throughout the movie :)

It's about a sweet inventor who designs toys and brings them to life with his love for them and the people who will enjoy them. He cares about the customers and the small, personal store. He lets anyone come in and play with the products no matter if they are buying anything (wish music stores did the same! :D ) and is not focused on profits - he is actually scolded by the accountant he is eventually forced to hire! Eventually he makes it known to his friends that it is his time to go. The movie handles this beautifully as he "walks away into the sunset" in a creative, not cliche, manner. He entrusts care of the store to the young woman who is seen at the end of the movie. She is heartbroken but he assures her that she will be fine and she also has what it takes to run the store. He gives her a wooden block, saying how it's not just a block if she believes in its worth and is creative with it (this is like how we feel about the theremin! :) ) After his death she brings the toys back to life with this beautiful dance of her hands in the ending scene that looks much like a passionate thereminist... :)

Which brings me to ask, how well do you think the new leadership of Moog Music is carrying on the spirit and legacy of Bob Moog? 

Posted: 7/28/2015 9:02:55 PM

Joined: 7/13/2015

Today I'd like to share an amazing interview with Bob Moog!


Does anyone know why behind him is written "I must learn to speak Xhosa"? I've been teaching myself to speak it for years! :)

And I think I mentioned I'm making some tribute art of Bob Moog and Leon Theremin. I found some rare photos of them actually together, so it's not entirely fictional :) I wouldn't want to keep them to myself so I had to share!

The Moog Foundation has put together a great video about their meeting:

And in the Moog documentary it was noted that Bob Moog had the opportunity to repair one of Clara Rockmore's theremins - I have found a clip of them talking together! :)

Coalport, I know you have spoken on the great impact Bob Moog had on Clara Rockmore especially later in her career, I hope you are interested in elaborating on that in this thread :)

Posted: 7/29/2015 12:17:28 AM

Joined: 7/13/2015

Is anyone else buying "Bach to Moog", Sony's album for the 10th anniversary of Bob Moog's passing - it's like an update to "Switched on Bach"? 


I did always like "Switched on Bach" - along with "The Happy Moog", "Go Moog 1972", "Things You've Always Wanted To Hear On The Moog: But Were Afraid To Ask", "Moog Indigo", and more - classic Moog sound playing cool and creative music :) This is the only song of the above that was uploaded legally to YouTube :3

Switched On Bach is mentioned in this great interview http://www.socialstereotype.com/_/Interviews/Entries/2004/7/1_ROBERT_MOOG.html

There are some more Moog synth albums I've never heard yet...I should listen to them! :D


Posted: 7/29/2015 12:31:11 PM

From: Northern NJ, USA

Joined: 7/29/2014

Bach to Moog combines real orchestra and solo players with electronics. What I heard on the Moog web site was not that impressive but I'll preview tracks on itunes and likely buy ones I like. Nothing approaches the original Switched on Bach album (and the companion Brandenburg Concertos album - which IMHO is even better). Wendy Carlos came out with another version years later and it was nothing as good - too much technology - broke my heart as Switched on Bach is what got me interested in classical music. The original was done at a time when there was little modern recording technology and I think the problems that had to be surmounted because of that actually helped create better music. Anyone who has not heard the Brandenburg Concertos album needs to. I think Buckley's Firing Line used Cto#2 as its theme song from the album.

Posted: 7/29/2015 9:08:01 PM

Joined: 7/13/2015

Does anyone have a link or copy of Bob Moog playing Amazing Grace? :)

Rkram53: Yeah, the original Switched On Bach is the best! :D Was the other album Switched On Bach 2000? You're right, it just isn't the same. You're right, what started as the novel Moog albums I mentioned provided the basis for all the electronic music produced today! It all started from Moog :)

Which brings me to today's comment, he was such a pioneer of electronic music, when he first created synthesizers there was not much of a market for them and most people had no idea what kind of creative music could be made with them! He believed in the potential of the theremin and synthesizer when they used to be relegated to sci-fi and noise etc. :3

Some Moog synthesizer history:



A short list of music made possible by Bob Moog can be found at http://www.rhino.com/article/remembering-robert-moog :)

Who remembers the Moog synthesizer Google Doodle? :)



Posted: 7/30/2015 1:29:43 AM

Joined: 7/13/2015

I am taking replies here for my Bob Moog post on http://www.thereminworld.com/Forums/T/31042/drawing-on-etherwave---materials?last=True so as not to take the other thread off topic :) Here is the main body of my post, along with a quote from the TW member I was responding to :)

I had also been thinking about a scene in the documentary on Robert Moog, when he's in the garden talking about how the sun gave energy to the green peppers he's growing, and then he would eat the peppers and that same energy would go from the sun, to the green pepper, then into him.  I thought it was so deeply beautiful how Robert Moog talked about electrical energy in such a comprehensive way... i remember another scene where he talked about how when he repairs an analogue synthesizer from a musician, the musician's energy is still in the circuitry, and as he works on it, his energy passes into it... (i think i'm remembering that correctly).... this idea that electrons from our body pass into the circuitry and interact with it... and not only that...  but it goes beyond us humans too... from the sun to the food we eat, the water we drink, into us, and then into the circuitry to make the music... it's so beautiful and interconnected. (@Xoadc)

I watched the documentary as well - Bob Moog has said many beautiful things about the connection between the musician and instrument, how it is an extension of the person and voices the emotions and will of the musician. Also the relationship between matter, consciousness and energy and people's ability to affect and really connect with objects, both emotionally and concretely through the laws of physics. And also the natural/electrical connection between a person and and electronic circuit, with the transfer of electrons along with the ideas, materials and work put into building and operating that synthesizer or theremin. And most beautifully how he will live on through his ideas, creations and the music made from them. The Moog Music site says "Moog Music synthesizers and effects are lovingly handcrafted at the Moog factory in downtown Asheville, N.C. Each instrument and effect is built to order by real people, just for you." and Bob Moog himself has said "I suppose my instruments do retain some sort of memory of me" - it is these sentiments which ultimately led me to decide to get a Moog theremin! :) 

I think this combination of people's connection to musical instruments, circuitry and energy is why those who choose theremin are so deeply passionate about it (like us at TW, and it's been said that the theremin chooses us :) ) And also why certain people truly have a connection/relationship with their theremin - those of us (myself included) who fall in love with it! (I have decided to announce my new theremin's name when I finally get around to introducing myself in the "Roll Call 2015"! :D ) Why do we bond with our theremin more than, for example, a guitar or computer? There is the relationship between musician and instrument which always exists (and creates expressive music), but the theremin is even more an extension of one's hands (Bob Moog said this about musical instruments) than any other instrument because of the way it is played! TW members have discussed how it is similar to using one's voice to sing. Playing the theremin requires the musician to be much more in tune with oneself, the instrument and the surroundings, than any other instrument. It also does require a lot of practice, refinement, sensitivity, gentleness and dedication. And while we can interact with other circuits/electronics too, and can connect with them while building or repairing them, the theremin is unique in how the person is literally part of the circuit and a conduit of the energy transmission. Being "bioelectrical", people carry electric currents etc. and transmit/receive charges in a similar way that the theremin does. Playing a note requires the person and theremin to form capacitance together, with energy transmitted back and forth. Quite recently I was talking on a thread regarding how, like any of us, theremins can be hurt by electric/static shocks! :( This winter I must be self-aware and generous by taking all the painful little "sparks" myself and dissipating the static charges before playing my theremin! I am happy to do it though :) And I learned on the same thread that this is bad for the circuits so I will greatly limit its occurrence... but sometimes I kindly touch the volume antenna and my Etherwave will chirp happily (I can't believe some people find it annoying! :3 ), or gently hold both antennae :) But it can't be too bad because the practice is Bob Moog approved :) This is from a very sweet scene in the Moog documentary...

Note also that the theremin sounds like a human voice, with an inexact, organic pitch which transmits the emotion of the musician. Any little movement of the person playing it affects the sound - and if the environment is quiet enough (and your hearing is sensitive) you can hear the sound of the theremin responding to your heartbeat and breathing! <3

I forgot to mention in the original thread some other things I find cute or special besides the chirp :) First of all I can't think of any other musical instrument that is warm to the touch. And while I take care to turn off my theremin before bed or leaving home, it is nice to be greeted with a song as I walk by during the day :) I wish I could carry on a conversation with her but Debussy's "Sirenes" is a great opportunity to harmonize :D

I made some special additions to my original post just for the Bob Moog thread:

Bob Moog has said: "To be human, to be fully human, is to need music and to derive nourishment from the music you hear."

Everyone needs music to survive, it is good for physical, emotional and spiritual health. This is why music therapy is so effective, music provides nourishment and healing. I am very interested in music therapy and hope to practice it someday. It is the need for music that leads many people to play an instrument. Then there are the people that Clara Rockmore describes as having music in their soul. Though I'm not too skilled (yet ;) ), I do think I am one of them. I *always* have a soundtrack to my life playing on my headphones, or in my mind :) It's those people with music in their soul who seem to be drawn to the theremin, and it's likely that they produce the greatest expression and beauty in their music and feel the closest relationship with their theremin. It seems that often both musician and theremin have a song in their heart :) 

Back to the Moog quote: "To be human, to be fully human, is to need music and to derive nourishment from the music you hear." This is so true. Sometimes it seems that my theremin enjoys the music as much as I do (I feel bad for spending so much time on TW - must take a break unless I am writing about Bob Moog)! And I have to say that even before considering the quote, my theremin feels more human than any AI robot that passes the Turing test! :D I am reminded of Bob Moog's trip to Japan, in the Moog documentary he says "...One thing we found is that... there are things going on that are not part of the physical world, that we don't know how to describe. You can communicate with a computer, or a musical instrument, or a car, with your mind, without touching anything." Bob Moog talks about his admiration for the Japanese culture and its emphasis on awareness of oneself and the environment, and also bonding with objects is a normal part of life. These aspects are familiar to Bob Moog, and the life of the thereminist :)

I can't help but include a sweet photo of Bob Moog enjoying one of those Japanese drumming arcade games, I like to play them too - but his drumming is much better :D


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