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Synthesiser pioneer Dr Moog dies


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Synthesiser pioneer Dr Moog dies

Synthesiser pioneer Dr Robert Moog has died at his North Carolina home aged 71, four months after being diagnosed with brain cancer.

He was born in the New York district of Queens and his instruments were used by The Beatles and The Doors among others.

Moog built his first electronic instrument - a theremin - aged 14 and made the MiniMoog, "the first compact, easy-to-use synthesiser", in 1970.

He won the Polar prize, Sweden's "music Nobel prize", in 2001.

Synthesiser hit

It was Wendy Carlos' 1968 Grammy award-winning album, Switched-On Bach, which brought Moog to prominence.

Carlos played renditions of Johann Sebastian Bach compositions on a Moog analogue synthesiser, making electronic music popular and Moog a household name.

Before long many musicians and groups, including the Doors, the Grateful Dead, the Rolling Stones and the Beatles, were using Moog synthesisers.

Moog remained a respected musical figure and in recent years many musicians, including Brian Eno, The Cure, Fatboy Slim and Stereolab kept the sound alive, even as analogue synthesisers were superseded by digital instruments.

"The sound defined progressive music as we know it," said Keith Emerson of Emerson, Lake and Palmer.

In 2004, the first Moogfest was organised in New York, celebrating Moog's achievements.

Organiser Charles Carlini said: "He brought electronic music to the masses and changed the way we hear music."

Moog had received both radiation treatment and chemotherapy to help combat his brain disease. He left a wife, Ileana, and five children.

A public memorial celebration is planned for Wednesday at the Orange Peel Club in Asheville, North Carolina.

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