Making One's Violin as Quiet as Possible

December 19, 2014 at 05:47 AM · I have to go on a trip next week during which the volume that I can play at will be severely restricted. I have a heavy practice mute, but I was wondering if anybody had any other ways to lower the volume evrn more. Basically the goal is to be able to play at full volume, while making almost no sound. Any advice would be appreciated. Thank you.

Replies (9)

December 19, 2014 at 07:37 AM · Easy. Get a bow with new hair and no rosin on the hair and do not rosin either. You will have trouble to get any sound out of the violin.

December 19, 2014 at 08:00 AM · Plug the f-holes with a soft cotton cloth.

December 19, 2014 at 02:04 PM · Perhaps insert a clean soft cotton or microfiber cloth in between your finger board and the top of the violin, make sure it's in there very gently and without any pressure.

December 19, 2014 at 04:36 PM · Try one of the heavy brass mutes instead of the heavy rubber practice mutes. You want to be careful not to damage your bridge, but they're okay for a short time.

If this is more than a one-time thing, consider investing in an electric violin, which will get you near-silence -- use headphones with it.

December 19, 2014 at 04:44 PM · Now is the time to practice playing very quietly with a normal setup but - this is most important - without losing tonal quality. Very good for bow control.

December 19, 2014 at 09:36 PM · I'll expand a little on my previous post. The exercises my teacher gave me were to play as quietly as possible but to project the tone. Most, when they start this exercise will lighten the bow pressure too much and/or play on the wrong part of the string so that the tone is indeed quiet but also lacks body. In particular the power of the lower harmonics and the fundamental are reduced, leaving the weaker high harmonics to carry the sound, which won't be for a very far distance.

How to play softly but with projection? - use a slow bow, closer to the fingerboard than the bridge, with enough hair pressure to bring out the fundamental of the note. As I said, it is a very good exercise for bow control because it will highlight unwanted tension in the bowing hand and arm. It is useful to try the exercise on gut strings.

December 19, 2014 at 10:12 PM · I'm guessing that what the OP wants is to be able to play normally, but without disturbing other people. In other words, they don't want to mess up their normal choice of sounding point, bow speed and distribution, etc. but are trying to avoid, say, having hotel security called on them.

Playing softly but with projection is bad for hotel-room practice, because your sound will still carry, albeit softly, and everyone in the neighboring rooms will hear you.

December 19, 2014 at 10:58 PM · Thanks for reminding me, Lydia. I was galloping off on a not really relevant tangent!

December 20, 2014 at 12:51 AM · Couple of wooden clothes pegs additional to the mute?

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