Moog Subharmonicon: an gorgeous analog labyrinth of subharmonics and polyrhythms

Moog SubharmoniconThe leaked images were genuine! Moog has just announced a remodelled Subharmonicon that it will take you on an adventure of sequences spiralling through six-tone subharmonic chords and organic patterns.


They say it’s dead easy to use although, to be honest, it doesn’t look or sound like it. It has two VCOs, four Subharmonic Oscillators, two 4-step Sequencers and four Rhythm Generators. It will produce a “rich harmonic kaleidoscope” that turns everything on its head. The inspiration came from the experimental electronic music of the 1930s and 1940s. Joseph Schillinger’s mathematical systems for musical composition and the Mixtur-Trautonium, which employed a series of subharmonic oscillators to generate electronic undertones, and the Rhythmicon capable of sounding multiple harmonically related polyrhythm generators simultaneously. You can read all about that on the Moog website.

So what is it? It’s a semi-modular polyrhythmic synthesizer that uses mathematical ratios to tune its Subharmonic Oscillators and control the timing of its Rhythm Generators. The maths ensures that the tuning and timing remain somehow coherent and musical. The tuning comes from the two regular VCOs and so generates these interesting chord shapes.  Each VCO runs two of the Sub-Oscillators and the intervals created are in relation to that VCO. You can keep things together through quantization to multiple scales and tunings or let it run free form.

The chord shapes are animated with the two 4-step sequencers which are clocked by the Rhythm Generators to create layers of timings and rhythms and all sorts. Then get to work on the envelopes, the Ladder Filter and VCA through which the oscillators travel paraphonically to blur the lines between pads and percussion, noise and melody.

Subharmonicon has a nice big patch bay which will be familiar to any Mother-32 owners out there and of course it’s the perfect partnership along with the DFAM for a little Moog powerhouse of creative sound generation.

Probably the best way to understand this machine is through demonstration and so check out the videos below for a window into this weird and fascinating instrument.

The Subharmonicon is available now for $699.

More information


Music as Living Matter by Suzanne Ciani featuring the Subharmonicon.


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