Today’s Google Doodle, which went live yesterday in Australia, features a cool little playable synthesizer that harkens back to a Doodle from last year featuring a Les Paul guitar in honor of the legend’s birthday. And while a lot of people will be enjoying a nice little break from the monotony of the workday today, most of them won’t realize the impact the instrument had on modern music.
Bob Moog, who studied electrical engineering at Columbia in the ’60s, teamed up with composer Herbert Deutsch to create a small, portable synthesizer unlike any already available on the market. The beauty of the instrument was that it was a lot lighter and more versatile than the others, and the strange sounds it was capable of making drew in musicians who were doing radical stuff at the time, including The Beatles, The Monkees, and The Doors. But the instrument’s influence has trickled down through the years, even through the many changes music has seen, and has been used by such popular groups as the Beastie Boys and They Might Be Giants. It was also used in music featured in the Stanley Kubrick film “A Clockwork Orange”.
Moog said he never made an instrument for himself, understanding instead that everything he did was for the people who used them.
“Artist feedback drove all my development work,” Moog said. “I’m an engineer. I see myself as a toolmaker and the musicians are my customers. They use my tools.”
Moog–whose name rhymes with vogue–founded two companies for manufacturing musical instruments and received a Grammy Trustees Award for lifetime achievement in 1970. He passed away in 2005 at the age of 71 from a brain tumor.