Remembering Bob Moog, One Year Later: 20-second “Moment”, Foundation Established, Moog Museum, Moogcasts

A year after the passing of Bob Moog, Moog Music and the Bob Moog Memorial Foundation are remembering his legacy. In musical memorium, Moog Music is encouraging radio stations to play a twenty second Moog Voyager composition. I’ll be interested to hear how many radio stations take them up on the offer; if they’re pressed for time, they might consider one of Corky Berger’s Moog Voyager ring tone. The idea is nice, but I fully expect most of us will hear far more than twenty seconds from Moog instruments or inspired by Moog instruments during the course of the day. …

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Synthesis + Booze: Moog Bubbly, Moog Beer, Toasting Little Phatty Serial One

Lift your glasses and toast your synthesizer, because evidently drinking and synthesis just go together. First up, the folks at Moog Music have put out a limited edition bubbly with their new Little Phatty synth on the label, as pictured here from the Moog Music newsletter. They have reason to celebrate: the Little Phatty synths are on their way out of Moog headquarters. Keyboard Magazine evidently got serial number 1; I don’t know who nabbed it (Steve?), but I look forward to the review. I don’t know what was in that bottle, but I learned last week from a friend …

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Stroh’s Strange, Early 20th Century Horn-Violins; “Digital Violin” Resource

Amplifying violins — and processing them with bizarre Max/MSP patches using mics and pickups and gyroscope bows — is no longer a major challenge. But it wasn’t always so. Early recordings of violins faced the challenge of the fragile sound of the instrument. Builders like John Matthias Augustus Stroh devised a primitive but effective solution: attach a horn to the instrument. The results are nothing if not wacky, and they reveal a lot about how instruments and technology evolve over time. I’d love to see more of this thinking in modern digital instruments, and violin/horn mash-ups seem even more compelling …

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16th Century Music Tech: 11-yo Sirena Huang on Design Marvel of Violin

We hear lots of discussion of how to make better digital instruments. But to fully understand instrument design, it’s often best to look at instruments from around the world that have evolved over centuries. (Hey, these synthesizers and such, by comparison, are mere infants.) Here’s a fantastically virtuostic performance from 11 year-old Sirena Huang, via June Cohen on the TEDtalks blog. Following the music, she discusses in frank terms why the instrument is such a timeless design. She’s got a smart audience for such thoughts: the performance comes from the Technology, Entertainment, Design conference, a legendary gathering of “thinkers and …

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Beethoven’s Violin Played in New Recording

Let’s talk truly retro instruments for a moment: a violin owned and played by Beethoven himself is featured in a new recording by violinist Daniel Sepec. (The pianoforte is vintage, too; an 1824 model played by Andreas Staier.) Beethoven’s violin used for first time in recording [CBC Arts, Canada] Beethoven, Sonaten für Klavier und Violine op. 23 und op. 30 Nr. 2 [CD page, Beethoven-Haus, Bonn] At the turn of the 19th century, Prince Lichnowski made Beethoven a handsome gift: a set of four string quartet instruments, which the 30-year old composer marked with a seal and large carved ‘B’. …

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Fairlight CMI, Revisited at Keyboard: Creator Vogel on Inventions Old and New

My colleague David Holloway has a nice piece for Keyboard Magazine on the Fairlight CMI, the ground-breaking keyboard / digital sampler. (The Fairlight is roughly tied with the Synclavier for first digital sampler, depending on how you count.) Fairlight’s Peter Vogel [Keyboardmag.com] Creator Peter Vogel talks about the (now-obvious) revelation that it might be easier to digitally sample sounds than recreate them through synthesis, and compares its importance in music to that of the equalizer. While Fairlight marches on, Vogel is turning to new projects, like technology for skipping TV ads. Now that’s progress. (Use the time you would’ve spent …

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Raymond Scott’s Electronium, 50s-vintage Automatic Composing-Performing Machine, Sits Silent

Raymond Scott’s Electronium is one of the great, odd sound inventions of all time. Scott developed the machine as an automatic performance and composing machine, a great, mechanical algorithmic music creation device. For an official source of information, be sure to read up at the Raymond Scott site, which has this fantastic music demo: Electronium Music Sample The idea of the machine, with no keyboard and the ability to “automatically” create music, is still a bit radical today. The sonic results are as whimsical and fresh now as then. But it’s the underlying technology that’s impressive: the device “suggests” musical …

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Benjamin Franklin, the Armonica, and What’s New in Music Tech for 1776

To our American readers, Happy Independence Day! And to everyone else in the world, well, really, you’re not fond of taxation without representation, either, are you? Mostly what this means is I’m taking the day off right in the middle of the week. But I’m not leaving you empty-handed. Here’s a little CDM on 18th Century Music technology. (Maybe I should preface that with: “I know this is a little old, but …”) Founding father Benjamin Franklin was more than a skilled negotiator, statesman, inventor/maker, and kite flying hobbyist. He was also an inventor of musical instruments. Musical sound from …

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Watch Poeme Electronique, Landmark 1958 Animation and Electronic Score

Architecture mixed with electronics mixed with animation — we think nothing of mixing these elements now. In 1958, as Poème Electronique was unleashed on the Brussels World’s Fair, it was still experimental. The animation/installation/composition was the collaborative creation of legendary modernist architect Le Corbusier, his assistant Iannis Xenakis, who would later come to be known as a ground-breaking experimental composer, and composer Edgard Varèse. Varèse is certainly one of us: part of the reason he went into a compositional drought for many years was he was frustrated by the limitations of acoustic sound, and longed for the electronic labs we …

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Frederic Chopin, The Video Game, Coming to Xbox 360

Here we are, a site that regularly follows unusual gaming – music crossovers, and I don’t think we could ever have imagined anything this odd: a video game in which you play as Frédéric Chopin (yes, the one you’re thinking of), fighting disease with magical powers in a dream world: Chopin’s Dream Screens at Kotaku Bungie, of course, is the developer and — ha, just kidding. No, this one is from Japan. (Pretend to be surprised.) Trusty Bell: Chopin no Yume is the official name (trusty bell?!), and other than that, you can really only look at the images, awestruck. …

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