Music: Synthetic Infinity

Since the invention of the Hammond organ in 1935, hardly an instrument exists that has not been electrified. Piano, flute, violin, trumpet, drums —each has its own plugged-in cousin. Most conspicuous is pop-rock's king of instruments, the electric guitar. Ten years ago, from Engineering Physicist Robert Moog, came the Moog synthesizer, which first produced music through electricity alone. A nuclear-age superorgan, it looks like the offspring of a piano and a telephone switchboard.

The public was bewitched with its eerie atomic sounds, first through Composer Walter Carlos' bestselling record Switched-On Bach, later by...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!