Moog Music: Pioneer of Modern Sound
By Asheville Insider
Much of the music we hear today can trace its roots back to the legacy of music pioneer and long-time Asheville resident Dr. Bob Moog.
Moog is best known for his 1960s invention of the revolutionary Moog Synthesizer, which electronically recreates the sounds of instruments and any other sound you can imagine. Moog was not the first person to create a synthesizer. In fact, he was the first to say he stood on the backs of other giants who came before him in the field. But he was the first to create a synthesizer that was accessible to musicians. His invention, which reduced the size of the synthesizer and added a keyboard, effectively changed the face of music in the years that followed.
The Doors were the first band to utilize the Moog Synthesizer. The Monkeys and The Beatles weren't far behind in creating music with the instrument. Many bands utilize the Moog Synthesizer today, and each instrument is made by hand right here in Asheville.
Asheville provides the ultimate Moog and synthesizer experience within just a few city blocks. A visit to Asheville gives you the opportunity to explore Moog's legacy from watching synthesizers in current production to touring a brand new interactive museum home to one-of-a-kind memorabilia.
How to Enjoy the Legacy of Bob Moog in Asheville
The Moog Music Factory and Store
160 Broadway St., Asheville
Moog Music, which opened its headquarters in 2011 on the northern edge of downtown Asheville, is the leading manufacturer of analog synthesizers in the world. A team of more than 80 employees produces 40 products in the factory, including five types of synthesizers. The Moog Music Factory offers free daily tours (Monday through Friday) to give you an up close look at production. Before or after the tour, stop in the store where, in addition to purchasing a synthesizer or souvenir, you can play all of the Moog synthesizers currently in production.
Cool Moog Music Factory fact: The largest synthesizer, the Minimoog Voyager XL, takes four people and six hours to produce just one. A total of 51,000 of these synthesizers are produced annually.
56 Broadway St., Asheville
The long-envisioned Moogseum opened in the heart of downtown Asheville on May 23, 2019, which would have been the inventor's 85th birthday. The museum's mission is to educate and inspire people of all ages through electronic music, just as Bob Moog did himself.
The Moogseum, a project of the Bob Moog Foundation, is a one-of-a-kind experience that includes eight exhibits, many of them interactive designed for playful exploration of sound, technology and science. Envision Moog's creative process by exploring the recreation of his work bench. Step inside an immersive dome where you can learn how electricity turns into sound when it goes through a circuit! Explore an interactive timeline of Moog's life and the history of sound synthesis. And, dive deeper in the archival center which features more than 1,000 pieces of rare archival material accessible by touch-screen kiosks. There also is rare memorabilia including one of the first theremins Moog built when he started his company in 1954. Admission is just $6.
Please note: The Moog Museum is the hallmark project of the Bob Moog Foundation, a non-profit organization established by the Moog family, and is not associated with the Moog Music Company.
History of Bob Moog in Asheville
Bob Moog and his family moved to Asheville in 1978 after falling in love with the area during a stay at the Grove Park Inn. One year earlier, Moog had left the Moog Music Company, which had been sold to Norlin Industries in the early 1970s. Moog had founded the company as the R.A. Moog Co. with his father in 1954 to sell theremin kits.
In 2002, Moog regained the right to the company name and relaunched it in Asheville. A year after Moog's passing in 2005, his family created The Bob Moog Foundation. The Bob Moog Foundation was established in Asheville to honor his legacy. In 2010, A mini Moogseum was installed at the famous Asheville music venue, the Orange Peel, after a ribbon cutting ceremony featuring the Beastie Boys.
The Moog Music Company opened its headquarters in Asheville in 2011. It was that same year a signature event that celebrates the Moog legacy, Moogfest, made its debut in Asheville. Moogfest is now held annually in Durham, N.C.