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By day I'm a propeller-head geek. I design software for electronic components for a major automotive supplier. When I'm not earning a paycheck, I enjoy playing music -- primarily jazz and classical but I dabble in other genres as well. I also compose, arrange, and play with electronic gadgets and toys. My other hobbies include photography, colored pencil drawing, genealogy, model railroading, and crosswords.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005


I saw Moog at the Detroit Film Theater Monday night. The documentary was a little slower that I expected, mainly due to halting quality of Bob's presentation. I had also expected more demonstrations of the instruments he invented, though a complete solo by Keith Emerson was offered in it's entirety.

Robert Moog has some interesting insights on the nature of invention. His views are decidedly spiritual or meta-physical when he talks about the man-machine connection he experiences with electronic equipment and that musicians experience with their instruments. He states that this connection is really bidirectional: not only does the player control the instrument but the instrument, in some manner, retains memory of the player and thus exerts a force on the musician.

The name "sythesizer" is often presumed to be derived from the premise that the generated sounds are synthetic (and, somehow, not real). Bob debunks this notion, claiming that the name comes from the fact that the sound is sythesized, or combined, from various modular components. Indeed, he says, the sound produced is very real.

I was most impressed by the performance of a young Japanese musician playing a theramin. I've never heard that instrument played with such accuracy. The lyrical impression of a cello was expected but the intonation was impeccable. I would not have believed the demonstration of a stacatto walking bass line in the jazz idiom, complete with triplet "kicks", had I simply heard it without the visual.

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