Video: Moog vs. Buchla—Who Created the First VC Modular Synth?

History is complex, and as time passes, popular culture can often obscure important events that occurred in it. Many great innovators get lost in the shuffle. Sometimes original innovators’ work is obscured by the work of those who built upon it.

In regard to the invention of the synthesizer, this is exactly what happened. Who invented the concept of the voltage-controlled modular synthesizer? You may think you know… but you might be surprised!

If you know about the history of synthesis, Bob Moog and Don Buchla are both names that immediately come to mind. Moog was an East Coast engineer whose modular systems would in time be used by Wendy Carlos, Rick Wakeman, Bernie Worrell, and many others. Buchla, meanwhile, was out on the West Coast, creating inventive modules with bold designs and touch-sensitive controls out of the San Francisco Tape Music Center scene.

But there's one name you may not know (or may not know as well): Harald Bode. What did he contribute? And was he, in fact, the inventor of the VC modular synth?

Watch our video above. To learn more about The Astonishing History of Synthesizers, watch our previous videos in this series: "The Light Bulb Is the Origin of the Modern Synthesizer" and "The Famous Moog-ARP Lawsuit… That Never Happened."

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