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Ableton Supports the Bob Moog Foundation

Why it matters--and how you can help

By Craig Anderton

All of us who use synthesizers owe a tremendous debt to Bob Moog. Ever change the cutoff on a 24dB/octave lowpass filter? Thank Bob. Ever played a Minimoog sample, used a step sequencer, slid your finger on a ribbon controller, or set the times on an ADSR envelope? Thank Bob Moog. And also thank him for bringing synthesizers to the masses, enriching our musical vocabulary beyond measure. Simply stated, many of us wouldn't be doing what we're doing if Bob hadn't created the tools we use.

Bob is no longer with us, but he left behind extensive archives that are nothing less than the history of electronic music in the latter part of the 20th century. This had nothing to do with ego, and everything to do with Bob having a strong historian streak: His notes, his breadboards and prototypes, his correspondence with electronic music giants like Wendy Carlos, Keith Emerson, Isao Tomita, and so many others--it's all there. But...

Bob would have been the first to tell you he wasn't a very good businessman, and unfortunately, his accomplishments dwarfed his rewards. So after his death, it was up to others to make sure that his legacy didn't die with him.

His daughter, Michelle, had always known Bob as "Dad," not "Mr. Synth Pioneer." It was only after Bob passed away that she truly understood how many people he had touched, and how deeply they cared for and missed him. She realized she needed to preserve her father's work; even though she knew nothing of fundraising and little about this industry, Michelle and her family (along with several of Bob's friends and colleagues) created the Foundation to carry on his legacy.

Bob's archives were rotting away in a warehouse in North Carolina, but Michelle--the Foundation's Executive Director--enlisted volunteers to help preserve what was there. Most of the important items have at least been saved from further deterioration, but much remains to be done in terms of restoring damaged items, and digitizing artifacts like photos before they age any more. The eventual plan is to have a place where Bob's legacy can be shared with the public via a Bob Moog museum and traveling exhibits, as well as create outreach and educational programs.

As Bob was a pioneer in the field of synthesis, Ableton has been a pioneer in the field of software. As a result, I was sure they would understand this desperate situation involving a fellow pioneer. When I told Ableton about the Bob Moog Foundation and its mission, they immediately offered not only to help--but to take a leadership position in preserving a large portion of our history, and paying tribute to a man who has deeply influenced, and continues to influence, musicians everywhere. In addition to contributing financially, Ableton created this space so I could tell you about the Bob Moog Foundation story on Ableton's behalf. And of course, I've already contributed to the Foundation as well, and will continue to do so. Yes, it's that important.

It's vital that everyone who's ever cared about synthesis follows Ableton's lead. The Foundation is at a critical point, and now is the time to contribute whatever you can to ensure that this piece of history isn't gone forever. And spread the word! We all owe a huge amount to Bob, whose work continues to influence musicians everywhere...and it's time for payback. To make a contribution, and find out more about the Foundation, go to