At Moogfest, the music revolution will be synthesized

JUDY WOODRUFF: The idea, how technology, music and science can inspire one another, and to the creation of distinct new sounds.

Jeffrey Brown is back to take us to an unusual gathering held just a few days ago in Durham, North Carolina.

JEFFREY BROWN: Start with a circuit board, add knobs and dials, solder everything together, and, eventually, if you know what you’re doing, you have an instrument that can do this.

Moogfest, named after inventor Robert Moog, is a celebration of the art, engineering and technology of synthesizers, machines that create sounds electronically. By night, it’s a festival of different genres of music, centered on, as they call them here, synths.

By day, talks, workshops, a pop-up factory, and plenty of hands-on tinkering, twisting, and tapping.

Creative director Emmy Parker says the big idea behind the festival is in the name of the instrument, to synthesize.

EMMY PARKER, Creative Director, Moogfest: We try to create a space where people have the opportunity, even though they’re surrounded by thousands of people here, where they have the opportunity to get lost inside their own minds. And the tools that they’re engaging with, in this case synthesizers, help them, assist them to kind of open new doors to new creative ideas.

JEFFREY BROWN: All these gadgets, they may look like fun toys to unlock your inner geek. It’s really part of a revolution in sound that’s all around us, whether we know it or not.

Just one example: a sound you have heard a million times. Suzanne Ciani used a synth to create the famous pop and pour sound of Coke while working in the ad industry in the ’70s.

SUZANNE CIANI, Musician: They’re electronic bubbles. And they’re like the platonic idea of a Coke bottle opening. There’s some perfection there.

JEFFREY BROWN: I never heard that.

(LAUGHTER)

SUZANNE CIANI: Right.

JEFFREY BROWN: The platonic idea of Coke.

A classically trained pianist, in the 1960s, she started down the road that would make her…

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