The “Moog synthesizer” actually refers to any number of synthesizers designed by Robert Moog (or made by the company Moog Music). Initially becoming popular in the late sixties, the synthesizer would be featured in hits like The Beatles’ last album, Abbey Road, and would influence the shape of modern pop to this day.
So what exactly is a moog synthesizer? You can check out the latest incarnation of the Moog Synthesizer, the “Old School,” at YouTube videos like this one, which give a brief sample of what these Moog synthesizers are capable of. In short, synthesizers are “artificial” sound that aren’t produced acoustically, but rather electronically.
As you might imagine, the easy way these types of synthesizers produce sound has made them excellent to use for recording and studio sessions, as deep and rich sounds can be produced simply by pressing a key on a synthesizer like the Moog synthesizer. Unlike acoustic pianos, these can simply be plugged into computers and recorded for studio editing purposes. If you turn on the pop radio these days, there’s a good chance you’ll hear a computer synthesized instrument – oftentimes in conjunction with acoustic, live instruments that were recorded. Any time you hear an instrument that sounds like it was generated by a computer, there’s a possibility it could be a synthesizer like the Moog.
Today’s songs often feature the synthesizer as an instrument in and of itself. Originally, synthesizers were often used simply to add to the sound quality of a certain instrument or tone, rather than actually substituting as an instrument on its own.
Today, synthesizers are frequent instruments used even in live performances. It’s not uncommon to see someone utilize a synthesizer like the ones pictured at the bottom of this summary of the Moog synthesizer – the electric piano can be a vastly different instrument to a synthesizer, even though their appearance both features music keyboards.
If you plan on recording music, the moog synthesizer can be a great way to start – you can create a variety of different sounds, learn how the notes on the keyboard work, and you should be able to hook up your Moog synthesizer to a variety of computers and electronic devices in order to make sure that the sounds you capture remain captured. How you use your Moog to create tones and sounds is up to you – you can use it for background sound, featured instruments, or even both.