Robert Moog, born 1934, from the United States, became the leading figure in the development of the electrically-powered analogue synthesizer, which together with computerized music, constituted the most important innovation within musical technology in the second half of the twentieth century.
During the pioneering days of electronic music from 1948 to 1965 electronic tones were generated primarily by laboratory instruments and equipment designed for radio and telephonic purposes. A studio built up in this way proved to be difficult to use, the equipment unwieldy and impracticable. Thus, by the beginning of the 1960′s, the need for developing a specially designed machine or instrument became more and more apparent.
Robert Moog, with the launching of his MiniMoog, moved the synthesizer from the laboratory into the musical arena. The MiniMoog boasted a compact design and a functional minimum of sound-generating devices controlled by a keyboard. The unit was built to be sturdy. At the same time, it could be moved and set up easily, just as any other musical instrument. This basic concept has continued to be an integral part of all later innovations, from the MiniMoog to today’s sophisticated computer programmes for generating and working with sounds and musical tones.
The MiniMoog had the added advantage of not requiring any special knowledge or expertise within the field of engineering or electronics and it could be played like any other instrument. The synthesizer paved the way towards new realms of sound and a new kind of structural thinking in the creation of music. It would soon revolutionize music in all its genres, from symphonic and chamber music to jazz, rock and rhythm & blues.