AOS Presents: The Moog Prodigy (Pitch, Loudness & Tone Colour)

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Electroacoustic, Electronic, Moog, Music, Sound, Sound Design, Synthesizer
The Moog Prodigy.

The Moog Prodigy.

The Moog Prodigy is a Synthesizer produced by Moog Music between the years 1979 to 1984. This Synthesizer is an entry-level monosynth from Moog Music.  The Prodigy was not designed by Robert Moog himself and because of this some would argue it is not a proper Moog although the prodigy does resemble the unique sound from the same family of synthesisers.  The Moog Prodigy was intended to be an affordable product to the public and is known to be a classic analogue Synthesizer.

Robert Moog, founder of Moog Music.

Robert Moog, founder of Moog Music.

It’s simple yet effective design shows voltage controlled oscillators (VCOs) – One with a sawtooth waveform, a triangle waveform, and a pulse waveform, the second with a sawtooth, a triangle, and a square waveform.  These waveforms can be detuned up or down by a fifth, also allowing the creation for thick pads as well as atonal sounds.

Oscillator 1 and Oscillator 2 on Moog Prodigy.

Oscillator 1 and Oscillator 2 on Moog Prodigy.

The Prodigy’s keyboard is monophonic which means it plays one key at a time.  If more than one key is depressed, the lowest key sounds. It is possible to explore the synthesizer just as you would with any other instrument – by ear.  When synthesizing by ear you will deal with the elements of sound: Pitch and loudness and tone colour. Also remember the Moog Prodigy is a musical Instrument and those pitch and modulation wheels are put there so you can create your own explosive musical line!

Performance Controls : Pitch and Modulation

Performance Controls: Pitch and Modulation control.

Architect of Sound will demonstrate a handful of sounds from your Prodigy through many different sound charts which feature in the Moog Prodigy manual.  This is a handy way to remember and store sounds. Moog Prodigy sound charts are line drawings of the front control panel and the lower performance control panel.  Rotary pots are represented by circle; slide switches are represented by segmented rectangles. After experimenting with these sounds charts feel free to create your own sounds by experimenting with the different settings on the Prodigy. Take a look at the beginner demonstration video below:

There are many artists and bands who have used this classic analogue Synthesizer among other Moog creations to compose their own style of music – For example Nine Inch NailsDepeche Modethe Album LeafLuke VibertFatboy Slim and somewhere in Essex in the early 1990s a young punk electronic composer named ‘Liam Howlett‘ liked this Synthesizer that much he named his group (The Prodigy) after this retro Synth.

Watch the following interview youtube video clip from Documentary ‘I dream of wires‘ with Trent Reznor and Alessandro Cortini from Nine Inch Nails:

If you want to learn more about Dr. Robert Moog there is a documentary film that was released in 2004 titled ‘Moog a documentary film by Hans Fjellestad‘.  The film shows Dr Moog interacting with various artists who view Dr. Moog as a influential figure in the history of Electronic music. The Interesting documentary was released in 2004 to coincide with the 50th year anniversary of Moog Music, Robert Moog’s company was founded in 1954.  It is a fascinating insight into the man and machine.

Moog Sign

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