The greatest trick Google’s public relations team ever played on the world was convincing people to link to its homepage whenever it does something cool like this — in this case, turning its web page into a playable Moog synthesizer in honor of the birthday of synthesizer innovator Robert Moog, inventor of the gizmos that bear his name.
You can now play Google’s undeniably awesome Moog web app on the U.S. version of google.com today because it’s because Robert Moog’s birthday (updated). Yesterday, U.S. and other users could play it on the Australian version (www.google.com.au) because Australia is a day ahead of the U.S. due to the international date line (maybe this is why their music hacks are so futuristic).
Yes, this is a toy, but it goes beyond mere gimmickry. You can tweak any of the knobs to shape the wave, change oscillator pitches, mess around with the filter or envelope, and more, with the numerical values for each appearing above the keyboard. Crucially, you can also play the notes on your computer keyboard once you’ve clicked a note with your mouse, expanding the sonic possibilities and turning it into a real instrument.
The only glitch we notice today is that the pitch bend/modulator wheel is stuck on the modulator setting, for us anyway (yes, we’re using Google Chrome). Yesterday, the record function didn’t play back in the U.S., which was to be expected, because the app wasn’t available here. Today it does, so this link now plays our hastily-recorded approximation of the “Axel F” riff (updated).
Well done, Google. This is a fitting tribute to the birthday of a great man.
Pro tip: If you want to be able to get to the black keys, start with the keyboard row that begins QWERTY. The black keys are the numbers.