Although the late Bob Moog was more than 25 years younger
than Raymond Scott, they were professional colleagues, and friends.
Here, in his own words, are Bob's memories of Raymond:
- - In the mid-1950s,
I was in my early twenties, living with my parents, and attending
Columbia University. In the evenings my father and I would make
theremins as something between a hobby and a business. One day
we got a call from Raymond Scott, who we knew from radio and
television. He invited us to come out and see his place in North
Hills, on Long Island, New York. We shot up Northern Boulevard
and eventually we got there. It was a beautiful, big, four-story
mansion surrounded by elegant grounds. Raymond greeted us and
- - First,
he showed us his recording
studio. Then a very large room with a cutting lathe, and
all sorts of monitoring and mixing equipment on the main floor
of the house. I remember the amplifiers that drove the cutting
head of this disc lathe were behind a screen, and they were big,
fat vacuum tubes that would glow yellow like the sun at.sunset.
- - Next he took us downstairs and showed
us around. There was an elevator going from one floor to the
other. The entire downstairs of the house was a dream workshop.
It consisted of several rooms. A large room with nothing in it
but machine tools of the highest quality. Everything you could
want. There were four or five lathes, drill presses, milling
machines, and on, and on. The next room was a wood-working shop.
Once again, completely equipped. Next was an electronics assembly
room, and off that there was a large, thoroughly equipped stockroom
of all kinds of electronic.parts.
- - So there my father and I were with
our mouths hanging open! It looked like heaven to me.
My father was an electrical engineer who worked for Consolidated
Edison, and I was a twenty year-old electronics nerd who found
himself on the track to becoming an.engineer...
was the size of a football field! More than half a dozen big
rooms, impeccably set-up. The floors were painted like a high
class industrial.laboratory. He had a whole room of metal-working equipment, a room full of wood-working equipment, and this huge barn of a room for.electronics.''
- - Raymond then brought us into the big room downstairs where he had music synthesis equipment. He had rack upon rack of stepping relays that were used by the telephone company. The relay would step through all positions when dialed. He had them hooked up to turn sounds on and off. It was a huge, electro-mechanical sequencer! And he had it programmed to produce all sorts
of rhythmic patterns. The whole room would go 'clack - clack
- clack,' and the sounds would come out all over the.place!
- - Raymond also showed us his "Circle Machine,"
which was a big disc, and a rotating arm with a photo-cell at
the end of the arm. There was a series of lights on the circumference
of the disc that this arm would pass over, and you could adjust
the brightness of each lightbulb. As the arm swung around, and
the photocell was illuminated and got darker, the different sounds
would come on and.off.
- - Obviously, not everybody could do these
things. It required a huge amount of imagination, a huge amount
of money, and an impressive amount of craziness.too!
Scott bought a theremin from me in the early 1950s. A couple
of months later, he invited us to see his prototype of a keyboard.instrument. This was NOT a theremin anymore. Raymond quickly realized there were more elegant ways of controlling an electronic.circuit.''
- - The evening ended by Raymond placing
an order for a theremin with us. But he wouldn't tell us what
it was for. Many months later, we delivered the theremin. Several
months after we delivered, he calls again and asks us to come
and see how he had used our theremin. Once again we got in the
car and headed eastward on Northern.Boulevard.
- - Off in one corner of his electronics
workshop was our theremin that we had sold to him, with the pitch
antenna cut off! In place of the pitch antenna there were wires
going off to an assembly of parts in the back of a keyboard.
Raymond called this his "Clavivox." This was not a theremin anymore Raymond quickly realized there were more elegant ways of controlling an electronic circuit. He used a very steady source of light instead of a theremin for subsequent models. There was a shutter consisting of photographic film that got progressively lighter as it went up. This produced a voltage which then changed the pitch of the tone.generator.
- - Raymond had everything adjusted so that, sure
enough, when you played the keyboard you got the notes of the
scale. But the really neat thing, as he pointed out, was that now you could glide from note to note you could play expressively you didn't have to play discrete notes.
- - The waveform of the sound determines
the tone-color, and there are several different ways of changing
the waveform that are characteristic of, but not identical to
analog synthesizer. Much of the sound producing circuitry of
resembles very closely the first analog synthesizer my company
made in the mid-'60s. Some of the sounds are not the same sounds
that you can get with an analog synthesizer, but they're.close. The Clavivox
also generated a vibrating voltage, or "vibrato," which
can be turned on and off from the left-hand control.
- - There are three controls under the
finger of your left to produce a fast attack, a slow attack,
or a silence between notes. There's a lever you can press to
extinguish a note so you can go very fast on and off. Although
it has a three octave keyboard, there's a range switch on the
front panel so you can play very low to very high. The Clavivox
looks sort of like a synthesizer too; it has a three-octave keyboard,
some left-hand controls, and a few knobs in the front. And this
was all very impressive. Raymond said that he wanted us to see
this because he was going to design a commercial product based
- - Over the years, from time to time, Raymond would ask us to design a circuit for him. Then he'd come up from New York City and pick it up, or tell us what else he'd want. This happened every couple of months, and we became fairly good friends...
Scott had brilliant intuition. He once said to me, 'The trouble
with you is that you believe just because you think about something,
then it's.done.' I was having a hell of a problem managing my time. Raymond put his finger on part of the.problem.''
- - Now we cut to 1964. We began building synthesizers in Trumansburg, near Ithaca in central New York State. He used to come up to Trumansburg periodically, to give me new assignments and check up on how our work was.coming.
- - We built circuits for Raymond, but often he wouldn't tell us what they were for. He was always very protective of his ideas and current projects. And he wasn't ashamed of it. He'd tell me, 'It's none of your business. Just build this circuit, and I'll take it from.there.'
- - Raymond got a lot of his electronic
music into radio and television, but he also went much further
out and did pieces of music with the equipment he built. They
don't sound as weird anymore, they sound similar to what artists
are doing today.
- - Raymond Scott was definitely in the forefront of developing electronic music technology, and in the forefront of using it commercially as a musician.
- - He was the first he foresaw the use of sequencers and electronic oscillators to make sound these were the watershed uses of electronic circuitry.
- - He didn't always work in the standard
ways, but that didn't matter because he had so much imagination,
and so much intuition, that he could get something to work. And
do exactly what he wanted it to.do.
- - Raymond Scott was one of those rare people who was influenced by the future. Not by the past, not by the present, but by the future. He did things that later turned out to be directly for the future. I think Raymond was tuned into the celestial, cosmic network the one that is out there in time as well as space to a greater extent than the rest of us...
Text above is © Bob Moog-
by Bob Moog
Raymond Scott and I were fairly good friends throughout the 1950s and '60s. We'd talk often on the phone about the circuits he wanted, and how we were doing. At some point, he started mentioning a friend of his. Eventually the word "friend" became more specific, and there was a name attached to the word "friend." It was."Mitzi."
- - "I've met this wonderful woman," Raymond told me, "she's my friend, her name is Mitzi, and I think we're going to be married someday." This went on for a while, and he talked more and more about.Mitzi.
- - One day Raymond called me and said, "We want to come and see you this weekend. We're going to drive up on Friday, and Mitzi and I are stopping in Binghamton and getting married. Mitzi doesn't want to be out all night with me unless she's.married."
- - They were in their fifties!
- - So I said, "Oh that's good, we'll have a celebration when you get.here."
- - About 4 or 5 o'clock Friday night, the phone rings at the shop. Raymond's on the phone, and he's hysterical. He said, "We're here in Binghamton, and the Justice Of The Peace has just gone home and there's no one to marry us! What are we going to do? Can you help.us?"
- - This really happened.
- - I put Raymond on hold, and I called up our Justice Of The Peace in Trumansburg. His name was Dana Poyer, and he was a chicken farmer! Dana said, "Well, I'm pretty busy in the morning. I have a lot to do taking care of the chickens and whatnot. But maybe at 10 o'clock I could do.it."
- - Then I put Dana on hold and said to Ray, "10 o'clock tomorrow morning. How's that sound?" And he said, "I guess we can live with that." So, to make a long story short, Raymond Scott and Mitzi were married by Dana Poyer on Saturday on a chicken farm right outside of.Trumansburg.
- - After the ceremony, Mrs. Poyer served.coffee.
Text above is © Bob Moog
''My Visit with
Tuesday May 9th, 2000
by Jonathan Richardson
Im going through the local Bloomington, Indiana paper, and I notice that Bob Moog is lecturing and giving a demonstration at the Lyons, Indiana Elementary/JR. High School. I figured I would drive down. Sure enough, there he is with that unmistakable grin and full head of white hair. It's Bob Moog!
Bob Moog is highly educated, knows his history, and is completely aware of where his ideas came from and where his own creations stand in this timeline. During his two and a half-hour lecture he discussed and presented slides of various experimental synthesizers and "electronic" pianos that preceded the Moog.
He mentioned, briefly, and played song samples from composers like Stockhausen, Otto Luening, and Bernard Krause, but he made the biggest fuss over Raymond Scott. Scott was a big influence on Moog and his early designs.
He went on and on about what a genius Scott was, and how he was the first musician to use electronic music in advertising (those of you who have picked up Basta Records fantastic two-CD set of Scott's electronic music, Manhattan Research Inc., will know what I mean).
Bob acknowledged that Scott played a very inspirational role, and was a great influence on the development of the first Moog synth.
Moog gladly played a bit of the new CD. When an audience member asked about the composition that was played and asked whether it was available commercially, he enthusiastically displayed and praised the new double CD.
What a strange and fun evening indeed! Pretty weird, but very cool.
Text above is © Jonathan Richardson
written by Raymond
Gentlemen: I have a story
that may be of interest to you.
It is not widely known who invented the circuitry concept for
the automatic sequential performance of musical pitches - now
well known as a sequencer.
I, however, do know who the inventor was - for it was I who first
conceived and built the sequencer.
Bob Moog, who visited me occasionally at my lab on Long Island,
was among the first to see and witness the performance of my
To digress for a bit: I was so secretive about my development
activities - perhaps neurotically so - that I was always reminding
Bob that he mustn't copy or reveal my sequencer work to anyone.
I understand, now, my personal need for secrecy at that time.
Electronic music for commercials and films was my living then
- and I thought I had this great advantage - because of my sequencer.
Word naturally got around about the nature of what my device
accomplished, but Bob Moog continued to be loyal. I must say
Bob Moog is a most honorable person. He steadfastly refrained
from embodying my sequencer in his equipment line until the sheer
pressure of so many manufacturers using the sequencer forced
him to compete. Yet, he used the simplest version, though he
knew about my most advanced sequencer. Quite a gentleman, and
a super talent besides.
Now, with the passing of years, I guess I regret my secrecy and
would like for people to know of what I accomplished.
Radio features with Bob Moog . . .
|Voice Of America:(mp3)
|- - By the early 1970s, Moog Synthesizers had gained world-wide
acclaim, and had been widely used by everyone from Wendy Carlos
to The Beatles. In 1971, the name of the company was changed
to Moog Music Inc., and in 1973 the company became a division
of Norlin Music. Robert Moog served as president of Moog Music
until 1977. The Moog family moved from New York State to western North Carolina in 1978. There he founded Big Briar, Inc. for the purpose of designing
and building novel electronic music equipment, especially new
types of performance control devices. From 1984 to 1988, Mr.
Moog was a full-time consultant and Vice President of New Product
Research for Kurzweil Music Systems.
- - Bob Moog's academic degrees include a BS in Physics from Queens College (NYC), a BS
in Electrical Engineering from Columbia University (NYC), and a PhD in Engineering Physics from Cornell University (Ithaca, NY). His awards include honorary doctorates from Polytechnic University (NYC) and Lycoming
College (Williamsport, PA); the Silver Medal of The Audio Engineering Society; the Trustee's Award of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences; the Bilboard Magazine Trendsetter's Award; and the SEAMUS award from the Society of Electroacoustic Music in the US. He has written and spoken widely on topics related to music technology, and has contributed major articles to the Encyclopedia Brittancia and the Encyclopedia of Applied Physics.
- - Until his death in 2005, Mr. Moog lived and worked in Asheville, North Carolina. He was president of Big
Briar, Inc., later renamed Moog Music, Inc. And Mr. moog served as an Advisory Board Member of The Raymond Scott Archives, beginning in the early 1990s.. Moog Music Inc's activities continue, and they still build theremins, MIDI interfaces, and electronic musical instrument kits....
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