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By Sarina Trangle
Mr. DeSilva explained the envelope, one of the late Mr. Moog’s most important additions to early synthesizers.
“The envelope effects how the filter behaves over time,” he said. “Moog was one of the early synth pioneers who developed the implementation of it [envelope] and actually it became standard. Most synthesizers that you would buy — hardware or software synthesizers — have these points in their envelope.”
The teacher altered the shape of the sound wave with different settings.
When the onset or attack of a note was set to zero, the quickness of the sound released a punchy noise. Mr. DeSilva turned the attack up, producing a longer note similar to those produced by string instruments.
The class studied the low frequency oscillators next. Allen Lee, a senior, explained that these, the instrument’s more finely tuned controls, play with “a range of sound frequencies that are so low that you can’t hear them at all.” Changes to the inaudible sound waves ripple through to audible waves, elevating or dropping the pitch of the notes.
Che, a DJ, and other students said they were surprised to hear the legend that Mr. Moog brought a synthesizer model to a science fair while at the Bronx high school.
“He’s basically the godfather of all electronic music,” said Che. “Mr. DeSilva told me he went here two or three months ago. I thought it was impressive that he went to the same school. Hopefully some of that will rub off on me.”
Tyler said it was “cool” to analyze the technology behind all the artists he admires.
“People that I look up to like Deadmau5 depend on synthesizers that were created by somebody at my school,” Tyler said.
Downstairs, administrators sat around Mr. Moog’s student file. Several letters to the high schooler described how Mr. Moog accompanied the orchestra on an electronic instrument. A 1949 note from the biology department chair thanked Mr. Moog for helping at a science fair and noted that his, “electronic organ ‘spoke’ for itself.”
KeywordsSarina Trangle, School Desk, Bronx High School of Science, Robert Moog, synthesizer, Moogavox, Deadmau5