Skip to main content

Black History Month: Select Books 30% Off

Harvard University Press - home
Analog Days

Analog Days

The Invention and Impact of the Moog Synthesizer

Trevor Pinch, Frank Trocco

ISBN 9780674016170

Publication date: 11/15/2004

Though ubiquitous today, available as a single microchip and found in any electronic device requiring sound, the synthesizer when it first appeared was truly revolutionary. Something radically new--an extraordinary rarity in musical culture--it was an instrument that used a genuinely new source of sound: electronics. How this came to be--how an engineering student at Cornell and an avant-garde musician working out of a storefront in California set this revolution in motion--is the story told for the first time in Analog Days, a book that explores the invention of the synthesizer and its impact on popular culture.

The authors take us back to the heady days of the 1960s and early 1970s, when the technology was analog, the synthesizer was an experimental instrument, and synthesizer concerts could and did turn into happenings. Interviews with the pioneers who determined what the synthesizer would be and how it would be used--from inventors Robert Moog and Don Buchla to musicians like Brian Eno, Pete Townshend, and Keith Emerson--recapture their visions of the future of electronic music and a new world of sound.

Tracing the development of the Moog synthesizer from its initial conception to its ascension to stardom in Switched-On Bach, from its contribution to the San Francisco psychedelic sound, to its wholesale adoption by the worlds of film and advertising, Analog Days conveys the excitement, uncertainties, and unexpected consequences of a new technology that would provide the soundtrack for a critical chapter of our cultural history.


  • How many retrowavey, electroclashy hipsters really know the true roots of the sound they’re preening and prancing to? We’re not talking about ’80s swill like Human League or Erasure—we’re referring to Robert Moog, the inventor of the eponymous sound-generating device that, more than any other single contraption, made the whole electronic-music world possible. Analog Days, penned by Trevor Pinch and Frank Trocco, is a richly detailed look at the early days of synthesized sounds, and is quite fascinating.

    —Time Out New York


  • Trevor Pinch is Professor and Chairperson of Science and Technology Studies, Cornell University.
  • Frank Trocco is Assistant Professor of Adult Baccalaureate Studies, Lesley University.

Book Details

  • 384 pages
  • 0-15/16 x 7-1/2 x 8-1/4 inches
  • Harvard University Press