• Alex Mader

How the Moog Changed Music - Research Paper

This semester I wrote a paper on the history and impact of the Moog Synthesizer through the contributions of Robert Moog and Wendy Carlos. While the paper changed form a few times during the writing process, it came out as a argument towards the importance of both technological and creative innovation in the success of Robert Moog’s instruments and the ways in which Robert Moog and Wendy Carlos both personified those ideals respectively.

It has been the first academic paper I have had the opportunity to write in some time and I really enjoyed the process of research and writing. In particular, the technical challenges of Wendy Carlos’s Switched-On Bach were fascinating to examine and I would love to one day attempt to replicate her method of layering successive monophonic instruments to tape just to experience it myself.

The paper in its submitted format can be read below and my post with the accompanying oral presentation can also be found here. As well as this link to the digital appendix for the paper which includes all the audio examples and score extracts.

I am looking forward to the next two papers I am writing next semester - which at this stage are to be on a comparison between Robert Moog and Don Buchla’s technical innovations and comparative success; and something of a philosophical analysis of nostalgia in music production through the ideas of Walter Benjamin, Jean Baudrillard and Theodor Adorno. These plans are tentative at the moment, but I look forward to continuing to read and write on them over the next few months.