June 29, 2011 -- Asheville, N.C. — To further the Bob Moog Foundation’s goal of teaching science through music, Executive Director Michelle Moog-Koussa commissioned the unique synth builder Dewanatron to construct an equally unique electronic musical instrument. The result is the Novitiate, a literally one-of-a-kind device stripped down to a synthesizer’s most fundamental functions and built entirely with the Foundation’s needs in mind. Its purpose is to aid in teaching beginners the basics of synthesis, without the distraction of unnecessary bells and whistles.
The Novitiate was donated to the Bob Moog Foundation by Dewanatron, a company that builds solid-state analog electronic musical instruments. The result of collaboration between artist/musician Brian Dewan and inventor/musician Leon Dewan, Dewanatron has gained considerable attention from the Swarmatron, a synth featured in the Academy Award-winning soundtrack to The Social Network, composed by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross.
Housed in a furniture-grade poplar cabinet, the Novitiate has 1950s sci-fi movie styling that’s best described as “futuristically retro.” The front panel’s four sections—oscillator, modulation, filter, and envelope—each demonstrate a primary synthesizer function. According to Leon Dewan, “We designed in the Novitiate something very simple for someone who doesn’t know anything about synthesis to start with and just get a handle on the basics of waveforms and filtering and frequency modulation.”
Brian Dewan adds, “It’s the first instrument we made that was not really conceived of as first and foremost for making music. It’s really made for understanding synthesis.”
“Where modern day synthesizers can be a bit overwhelming for new students of synthesis,” says Michelle Moog-Koussa, “the Novitiate does a beautiful job of presenting the four basic building blocks of analog synthesis in an accessible and compelling manner. We are delighted to add the Novitiate to our MoogLab program and we are deeply grateful to Brian and Leon Dewan for supporting our educational initiatives with this custom instrument.”
The Novitiate is an especially valuable asset to MoogLab, the Foundation’s outreach program for taking hands-on experience with electronic instruments into schools and the broader community. Its next public appearance will be at The Artery in Asheville during Pushing the Envelope: ADSR, a multimedia art show beginning July 9 and ending July 30, 2011.
For more information and photos on the Novitiate:
For more information on MoogLab:
For information on Dewanatron:
For information on Swarmatron: