Herb Deutsch and the First Moog at Maker Faire Detroit

Music Technology
Herb Deutsch and the First Moog at Maker Faire Detroit
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Post-show Deutsch had a long line of fans and autographs

One of the headliners here at the 5th annual Maker Faire Detroit today was Herb Deutsch, co-inventor of the Moog synthesizer.

It was a beautiful synergy:  the 50th anniversary of the first Moog—which Maker Faire host, The Henry Ford, has in it’s collection and had on display in the hallway just outside the theater where Deutsch spoke.

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According to Deutsch, who donated this early Moog prototype to The Henry Ford, this machine was only 6 iterations away from the very first experiment Bob Moog assembled

Deutsch was engaging and charming and relaxed, recounting his collaboration with Moog through storytelling and performance. He played a tape of Bob Moog playing with his first iteration of the Moog; Bob Moog calls it the “Abominatron” on the recording.

Then Deutsch played the theremin with a recording of Edgard Varèse’s 1958 electronic music composition “Poème électronique”—a world first-ever performance, according to Deutsch.

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Deutsch having fun on the Theremin

A lifelong musician and composer, Deutsch cited John Cage as an early influence and read some excerpts from Cage’s Silence. Deutsch quoted Cage: “Music is the organization of sound.”

A really nice complement to the program was the placement of some impressive young buck analog makers in the foyer of the theater.

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Bubba Ayoub and his awesome modular synthesizer

“Close Encounters of the Synth Kind,” a special presentation during the Faire that brings together the pioneers, experts and Makers involved with the ongoing legacy of synthesizers and experimental electronics. Sunday’s program concludes with:

1 p.m.
Dave Tompkins
“Everything Must Go: Vocoder Clearance in the Deformation Age of NSA and Electrofunk”

2:30 p.m.
Paul Elliman
“Detroit as Refrain”

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Standing ovation by an adoring crowd

Thank you Herbert Deutsch!

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Sabrina is the Maker Faire Program Director. She works on stage content for the flagship fairs (Bay Area & New York), and also runs Maker Faire's global licensing program for locally and independently produced Maker Faires. She also co-creates the East Bay Mini Maker Faire in her town, Oakland, CA.

View more articles by Sabrina Merlo

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