This is my podcast on the analog synthesizer:
Ever since the beginning of man, people have been making music. During the course of our existence, we have invented a countless number of instruments, but none have been so conceptually unique as the analog synthesizer. Invented during the mid-1960s by Robert Moog, electrical engineer, philosopher, and all-around stud, the analog synthesizer paved the road for not only electronic music, but an entire family of future instruments, as well.
The analog synthesizer was the first wide-spread instrument that used electricity to produce its sound. Although there were predecessors, such as the Theremin and the Ondioline, the analog synth was the first of its kind to have any practical musical potential. When the analog synth was first released, most critics and musician considered it a perversion to instrumentation because it didn’t have strings or a horn. After a few years, however, certain experimental musicians recognized the potential in the synthesizer, and began to record and perform with it.
This video demonstrates the incredible sonic versatility of the analog synthesizer.
Today, the analog synthesizer, while still recognized as the grandfather of all electronic instrumentation, has become increasingly less popular than digital instruments. Analog simply means a continuous voltage signal. An analog synthesizer produces that signal and then runs it through a series of circuits and voltage dials that manipulate the voltage signal and consequently, the sound it produces. Digital instruments work like a computer. They use a microprocessor to organize and recall different sounds that are stored in their memory.
This is a great example of digital instrumentation:
There are some analog purists who don’t believe digital can properly replicate the sound of an analog synth. That said, digital instruments have taken over the industry, in most cases. This is mostly due to the price of analog synthesizers. Especially today, in an age of DIY musicianship, it is simply more appealing to buy a digital instrument that creates thousands of sounds, loops, and beats, than it is to buy an analog synthesizer for five-hundred dollars more.
CHVRCHES. “The Mother We Share.” The Bones Of What You Believe. Virgin Records, 2013. Mp3.
Fakhoury, Kyle. “Analog Synthesizer Demo.” Online video clip. Youtube. Youtube, 4 Dec 2013. Web. 8 Dec 2013.
Pinch, Trevor. Analog Days: The Invention and Impact of the Moog Synthesizer. First Harvard University Press, 2004. Print.
Robinson, Jack. “Synths of the fathers” Photograph. 1970.
Vintage Synth Explorer. Web. 12/5/2013. http://www.vintagesynth.com.