Bob Moog’s birthday honored with Google doodle

Google’s “Moog doodle” – an interactive, synthesizer-based, playable logo – is on the search engine giant’s homepage today, honoring the late Asheville inventor Bob Moog on what would’ve been his 78th birthday.

The move is catching the attention of millions of people around the world and garnering a wealth of international media attention. The local Moog Foundation, which was founded by Bob’s daughter, Michelle Moog-Koussa, seeks to honor his legend by inspiring people through the power of electronic music. And Moog Music, located on Lexington Avenue, continues to carry on his work, producing a wide array of synthesizers and other instruments. Both are hoping to benefit from the moment in the international spotlight.

The response has already been “overwhelming,”  Moog-Koussa says, as she watches the reactions pour in on social media sites today from her downtown Asheville office. “It’s of cosmic proportion.”

Officials from Google reached out to her just a week ago to discuss the plans, she reports. And they warned her she would likely need to get a new server to handle the web traffic the doodle would generate. Last year, a Google doodle honoring Les Paul resulted in millions of songs. That one, however, was only posted in the U.S., whereas the Moog doodle is up in countries across the globe, reaching so many people “it’s hard to imagine,” notes Moog-Koussa.

The Google creation is perfectly in line with Moog’s goals and those of the foundation, she adds. “Bob’s work was making sonic synthesis available to everyone – musicians and fans – and Google has just taken that possibility and multiplied it by… I don’t even know how many times,” she explains. “Google made the whole world sonic explorers today.”

Here’s a look at some more of the reactions, media coverage, and other information on the doodle.

The Moog Foundation released the following statement:

Bob Moog’s Birthday Garners Google Recognition and Industry Support

May 23, 2012 Asheville, NC—The Bob Moog Foundation is joined by supporters worldwide in their celebration of the anniversary of the synth pioneer’s 78th birthday. Global technology leader Google released their latest doodle, an interactive,  synthesizer-based, playable logo, which honors Bob Moog’s inventions. The Moog Doodle can be played using a mouse or by typing to make nearly limitless sounds. Keeping with the theme of 1960s music technology, a keyboard is patched into a 4-track tape recorder allowing the play back and sharing of songs via short links. The doodle can be viewed and played at

Google software engineer Joey Hurst’s plains the impetus behind the Moog doodle, “With his passion for high-tech toolmaking in the service of creativity, Bob Moog is something of a patron saint of the nerdy arts and a hero to many of us here at Google.” 

BMF Archive and Education Specialist Marc Doty has posted a 15 minute video demonstrating the various parameters of the doodle synthesizer. His video has over 8,000 views and has been picked up by Mashable and the Washington Post. The video can be viewed here:

To promote the incredible doodle tribute, the Bob Moog Foundation is hosting a contest on the home page of its website.  Music fans from around the world can share their musical creations in the comments section of the blog on the home page of A winner will be chosen and awarded Arturia’s Dr. Bob’s Collector’s Pack, which includes award-winning Minimoog and modular Moog software (valued at over $300). 

Furthering the celebration, Moog Music, Inc. will donate 50% of all online clothing and merchandise sales on May 23rd to the Bob Moog Foundation. For every $350 raised, the company will also donate one Etherwave Theremin to the Foundation’s educational initiative, Dr. Bob’s SoundSchool.  This promotion includes their brand new line of product-inspired apparel boasting graphics bold enough to induce a geekfest for synth enthusiasts everywhere. Moog instruments are not included in the annual event. 

Moog Music clothing and merchandise can be purchased from the company’s online store: and

Spectrasonics, creators of the much heralded Omnisphere “soft-synth” and creators of the Bob Moog Tribute Library, have added to the already robust library of 700 sounds another 78 in recognition of Bob’s birthday.  Spectrasonics continues to be one of the Foundation’s greatest contributors to continuing the legacy. Visit for more information about the BMF Tribute Library.

In the realm of esoteric electronics, starting on May 23rd Hollow Sun Records and electronica maverick Atomic Shadow are donating proceeds from the Shadow’s first two albums to the Bob Moog Foundation.  This tribute honors the coincidence that Atomic Shadow and Bob Moog share a birth date and a passion for innovation and music. The albums can be purchased at the discounted price of £3 for a limited time at

Early Girl Eatery in Asheville, North Carolina, where Moog often ate lunch,  is hosting the Bob Moog Birthday Salute, honoring its hometown innovator by donating 20% of their total sales from May 23 to The Bob Moog Foundation. The restaurant is open from 7:30am-9:00pm. Marc Doty will perform three sets of live music throughout the day. Anyone who donates $1 or more to the Foundation while at the restaurant will be entered in a raffle to win various Moog-inspired items.

WATCH A VIDEO that demonstrates the Google Doodle:

Here’s an excerpt from Mashable Tech’s story “Google’s Moog Doodle: The Inside Story”:

Why do Google Doodlers build the things they do? They’re fans, that’s why. When Google’s Chief Doodler Ryan Germick and Google Engineer Joey Hurst decided they wanted to build the Google Moog Synthesizer Doodle, it was to “Pay tribute to someone who was like a patron saint of the nerdy arts,” said Germick.

Germick told Mashable that he was a huge Robert Moog fan. Moog, who died in 2005 and would have been 78 today, developed what is widely recognized as the first commercial synthesizer. Previous versions were the size of closets. Germick called him “a passionate toolmaker.”

Hurst and Germick collaborated on last year’s playable Les Paul guitar Google Doodle, but it was Germick who brought this project to Hurst — who actually celebrated his birthday one day before Moog’s — as a kind of a challenge. “Joey is an amazing engineer and I love to come up with a way to stump him,” explained Germick.

An excerpt from the Los Angles Times:

Bob Moog was a geek. And proud of it. His music-meets-electronics inventions made him a legend in the music world but not exactly a household name. Today, a Google Doodle seeks to change that, honoring him with an ultra-cool interactive doodle—call it a Goog—that shows the world just how “instrumental” the late Moog was.

Moog pioneered the Moog synthesizer and, in doing so, revolutionized the music world in the midst of the psychedelic 1960s—bringing musical performance into the electronic age. It’s impossible to overstate his importance to the industry, experts say. What Les Paul and Leo Fender did for the electric guitar, Moog did for the synthesizer, according to Trevor Pinch, coauthor of a book on the Moog synthesizer.



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About Jake Frankel
Jake Frankel is an award-winning journalist who enjoys covering a wide range of topics, from politics and government to business, education and entertainment.

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