December 27, 2022

Herb Deutsch: Moog pioneer

Tape Op has an in depth article about the recently deceased Moog synth pioneer Herb Deutsch. Without him electronic music would have taken way longer to catch on. He is the man behind the keyboard interface among other things that were essential for the instrument to become playable and start a sonic revolution.

The outsider’s perspective can be essential when it comes to problem solving, but at some point opinions from actual players need to be considered. Deutsch brought Moog deeper into the world of avant garde composers, many of whom would become beta testers and customers. Plus he addressed things that Bob’s nascent synthesizer required. Notes just being “on” or “off” lacked essential dynamics. A violin, guitar, trumpet, piano, drum or any other instrument you can think of expresses itself by how fast a note develops, holds, or sustains. Brass usually has punch, whereas a cello may have a softer rise. Piano notes often ring out against each other. Known as an “envelope,” the attack, decay, sustain, and release applications gave the synthesizer as much character as filtering and pitch bending. Deutsch famously pointed this out to Moog, who designed the proto-circuit, applying a doorbell switch he’d bought from the local hardware store. Deutsch’s most famous suggestion, though, was probably the one we think of as the most obvious. You may find it hard to believe that the Western scale keyboard was a controversial addition, though.

Watch him play the Minimoog Voyager.

» Herb Deutsch on Wikipedia

No comments:

Post a Comment