Moog & Deutsch


Moog Music Interview

In this interview with Moog Music, Herb discusses the early days of electronic music and his role in the invention and development of the Moog Synthesizer.

Bob Moog and Herb Deutsch Hofstra University

Herb Deutsch and Bob Moog at Hofstra University


The Chance Meeting of an Engineer and a Musician

Herb first came across the name “Bob Moog” while reading an Electronics World Magazine article written by the engineer that outlined the process of building a theremin, an instrument of great interest to Herb at the time. Two years later during the 1963 All State Music Festival in Rochester, NY, Herb — a newly appointed college professor — ran into Bob who had attended the festival to exhibit an array of theremins. An immediate connection was formed over a shared interest in the manipulation of sound through electronics and it wasn’t long after this chance meeting that the conceptualization of a new electronic musical instrument, the Moog Synthesizer, began.

Electronics World Magazine

1963 Electronics World Magazine Article


From idea to expression

In the summer of 1964, Herb visited Bob at his workshop where he had started developing an electronic instrument consisting of a keyboard and an oscillator. Although playable and capable of producing sound beyond the traditional musical range, Herb quickly realized the device lacked the concept of musical articulation. With the addition of a doorbell mechanism to trigger attack and decay, an instrument that was both a new approach to music and a complete solution at the same time was born.

Herb Deutsch Early Moog Prototype

Herb Deutsch playing the prototype of the first completed Moog Synthesizer.


Vintage “Nutone Chimes” Doorbell Advertisement

The designer of the instrument must understand the needs of the artist. . .the artist should then recognize the designer’s ability to produce what the artist needs.

“. . .I said, “Bob, I play the trumpet, and when you blow a trumpet, it goes ‘ta.’ It’s got an attack. And when I play a piano and hold the key down, the tone decays.” And I said, “Those are things that musicians need to have to make true music,” and Bob knew immediately how he could do it–and this is a wonderful piece of truth–he said, “Herb, do me a favor. Go across the street to the hardware store. I need to have a doorbell button.” And that’s what he said to me. And I, knowing Bob for a day or so, I understood that, and I went over and got the doorbell button. I remember that I paid 35 cents for it.” [Excerpt from YES & NO Magazine Issue 02:03, Spring 2019)]

Jazz Images: A Work Song in Blues

a new world of sound with an old world of performance

In 1964, Herb composed the first piece of music using the sounds of a Moog Synthesizer. An archival recording of Jazz Images: A Work Song in Blues as it was first performed on the often funky and out-of-tune original Moog Synthesizer prototype can be heard on his 2012 Ravello Records release FROM MOOG TO MAC.

Herb Deutsch Early Moog Prototype

Herb Deutsch playing an early prototype of the Moog Synthesizer

1965 – 1969

Historic Performances

The end of the 1960’s proved to be both a dynamic and important time for Herb and the Moog Synthesizer. In September of 1965, Herb’s “New York Improvisation Quartet” presented the Moog’s first live classical program at Town Hall in New York City.


Music in the garden at the Museum of Modern Art

In 1969, Herb’s quartet presented the Moog’s first jazz program at “Jazz in the Garden” at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. The set was performed on newly constructed instruments completed only days before the concert.

Herb Deutsch Early Moog Prototype

Bob Moog (left) and Herb Deutsch at the Museum of Modern Art NY

Herb Deutsch at Hofstra University

Further Reading

Browse Moog Music’s collection of articles about Herb and the early days of electronic music.