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Synthesizer pioneer Robert Moog dies

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Washington (dpa) - Robert A. Moog, whose synthesizers brought revolutionary electronic keyboard sounds to everything from classical music to rock, has died, the company he founded said Monday. He was 71.

Moog died Sunday at his home in Asheville, North Carolina, Moog Music Inc. said on its website. He had been diagnosed with brain cancer in April.

Moog's breakthrough came in 1968 when Walter (now Wendy) Carlos used the new music synthesizer - which then required a large console of several boxes - to record an album of classical music, "Switched- On Bach".

Soon thereafter it was available as a portable keyboard, and the Moog took off in the 1970s in rock, jazz and R&B, becoming a byword for synthesizers for a time. Stevie Wonder used it; so did jazz pianist Chick Corea, new wave band Devo and German industrial rockers Kraftwerk.

"He gave us an instrument that can cut through concrete and frighten guitarists to death," Rick Wakeman, keyboard player for progressive rock band Yes, was quoted as saying by Wired News.

Moog left the company he founded in 1977. Production of Moog keyboards ended in 1986, but he kept on designing electronic instruments.

"He was a gentle and humble man with a wonderful sense of humour and a brilliance that inspired millions around the world," his family said on its website.

He is survived by his wife, Ileana, five children, and the mother of his children, Shirleigh Moog. A memorial service was planned for Wednesday in Asheville.

Copyright 2005 dpa Deutsche Presse-Agentur GmbH

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