Electronic music synthesizer creator Robert Moog dies

Robert Moog, whose name became synonymous with electronic music in the 1960s and '70s through the invention of his self-named synthesizers, has died in Asheville, N.C. He was 71.

Moog, who died Sunday, was diagnosed in April with an inoperable brain tumor.

The Moog synthesizer - a versatile keyboard instrument that could electronically mimic panoply of musical sounds, including horns and strings - was introduced in 1964. Originally employed as a sonic novelty, it became widely used by several rocks, pop and classical musicians and opened the door for the mainstreaming of the synth in the electronica genre.

Moog said in a 1997 interview, "To me, the synthesizer was always a source of new sounds that musicians could use to expand the range of possibilities for making music."

Born in New York in 1934, Moog studied piano as a child and was encouraged to explore electronics by his father, an amateur radio operator. As a youth, he was fascinated by the theremin, the early electronic instrument invented by Russian Leon Theremin. Moog's first company marketed theremins and other electronic products, reports Reuters.

The Beatles used a Moog synthesizer on their 1969 album Abbey Road and a Moog was used to create an eerie soundtrack to the 1971 film A Clockwork Orange. But the popularity of the synthesizer took off in rock as extended keyboard solos in songs by Manfred Mann, Yes and Pink Floyd became part of the progressive sound of the 1970s.

"The sound defined progressive music as we know it," said Keith Emerson, keyboardist for the prog-rock band Emerson, Lake and Palmer.

By the mid-1980s, sales had been almost wiped out by digital technology. Sales fell to near zero, as the dials and sliders of the old analogue equipment were being replaced by buttons and LCD displays.

But the arrival of dance music and Britpop in the 1990s saw resurgence in the "Moog sound" and the inventor redesigned the synthesizer for a new breed of players, informs Guardian.

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Author`s name: Editorial Team