Analog Synthesizers: Understanding, Performing, Buying : From the Legacy of Moog to Software Synthesis book cover
2nd Edition

Analog Synthesizers: Understanding, Performing, Buying
From the Legacy of Moog to Software Synthesis

ISBN 9781138319363
Published July 8, 2019 by Routledge
448 Pages

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Book Description

Making its first huge impact in the 1960s through the inventions of Bob Moog, the analog synthesizer sound, riding a wave of later developments in digital and software synthesis, has now become more popular than ever.

Analog Synthesizers charts the technology, instruments, designers, and musicians associated with its three major historical phases: invention in the 1960s–1970s and the music of Walter Carlos, Pink Floyd, Gary Numan, Genesis, Kraftwerk, The Human League, Tangerine Dream, and Jean-Michel Jarre; re-birth in the 1980s–1990s through techno and dance music and jazz fusion; and software synthesis. Now updated, this new edition also includes sections on the explosion from 2000 to the present day in affordable, mass market Eurorack format and other analog instruments, which has helped make the analog synthesizer sound hugely popular once again, particularly in the fields of TV and movie music.

Major artists interviewed in depth include:

  • Hans Zimmer (Golden Globe and Academy Award nominee and winner, "Gladiator" and "The Lion King")
  • Mike Oldfield (Grammy Award winner, "Tubular Bells")
  • Isao Tomita (Grammy Award nominee, "Snowflakes Are Dancing")
  • Rick Wakeman (Grammy Award nominee, Yes)
  • Tony Banks (Grammy, Ivor Novello and Brit Awards, Genesis)
  • Nick Rhodes (Grammy Award Winner, Duran Duran)

and from the worlds of TV and movie music:

  • Kyle Dixon and Michael Stein (Primetime Emmy Award, "Stranger Things")
  • Paul Haslinger (BMI Film and TV Music Awards, "Underworld")
  • Suzanne Ciani (Grammy Award Nominee, "Neverland")
  • Adam Lastiwka ("Travelers")

The book opens with a grounding in the physics of sound, instrument layout, sound creation, purchasing, and instrument repair, which will help entry level musicians as well as seasoned professionals appreciate and master the secrets of analog sound synthesis. Analog Synthesizers has a companion website featuring hundreds of examples of analog sound created using dozens of classic and modern instruments.

Table of Contents


About the author

Introduction: what’s so great about analog?

Chapter 1

What is analog?




Wave shape

Harmonics and overtones



Synthesizer components

Circuit design

Sound design

Chapter 2

Aspects of analog sound

Voltage-controlled oscillator

Voltage-controlled filter

Envelope generator

Voltage-controlled amplifier

Low-frequency oscillator

White noise source


Wave shaper

Ring modulator

Subharmonic oscillator


Frequency shifter

Morphing filter




MIDI interface

Assorted modules

Chapter 3

The birth of analog, the manufacturers and the artists





Sequential circuits




Chapter 4

The growth of analog



The Netherlands


United Kingdom



Chapter 5

Using and programming analog

Classical and avant-garde programmers

Jazz programmers

Pop and TV music programmers

Rock programmers

Pure synthesizer programmers

Techno-pop programmers

Programming for orchestral imitation

Programming rock, pop and electric sounds

Programming abstract sounds

Ten great analog sounds

Chapter 6

The analog revival, 1980s–2000s

Chapter 7

Programming and using virtual analog hardware and software

Virtual analog programming

Virtual oscillators

Virtual filters

Virtual LFOs

Virtual envelopes

Virtual controllers

Alternative applications

Analog software

Chapter 8

2013-2019 updates: new instruments, Eurorack and movies/TV


New instruments, 2013 onwards

Modules 2013–2019: the Eurorack explosion

Analog goes to the movies

Appendix A Classic instruments: specifications and values

Appendix B Analog and virtual analog instruments: currently or recently in production

Appendix C Purchasing guide for analog instruments

Appendix D Bibliography

Appendix E Discography

Appendix F Contacts

Appendix G Website content:


View More



Mark Jenkins has written about electronic music for Melody Maker, International Musician, Keyboard Player (UK), Keyboard (USA), and many other publications. He has performed and recorded solo and with members of Tangerine Dream, Can, Gong, White Noise, and Van Der Graaf Generator in the UK, USA, Europe, Brazil, Russia, and China, at venues including the Queen Elizabeth Hall, the London Planetarium, the Carnegie Science Center Pittsburgh, the Vanderbilt Planetarium, and the Teatro Nacional in Brazil.