Violin Mutes: Specific ones for practice and orchestral?
I was looking for a mute because I do not want issues with my ears. I had been using ear plugs but they mute too much, and I worry about infections from things inserted into my ears, even though I discard after each use (big jar of them).
I bought a little black rubbery roundish one at the music store after my lesson. It was pretty cheap. It stays on the violin and gets pulled up and hooked over the bridge when in use. It does not mute much and my ears still seem to be “ringing” while playing, and feels like it for a little while after.
I was searching Amazon and found one that looked okay, and it was priced in a reasonable range. It had five stars, but the reviews are really not reliable (not getting into that). But one review had this statement:
“Great for orchestral and symphony use! Not as good for practicing. It's more of an orchestral mute”
It is for a Super Sensitive Violin Mute Fred Spector Design Color Black .
What is meant by it is good for orchestral use? Why not for home use?
My instructor let me use one her father gave her decades ago. I really liked it. It provided a nice mute, whereas wearing my earplugs made it hard for me to hear her. But, it was given to her by her father a long time ago and she does not know where he got it, and has never seen another, but she said she has never looked, either.
It was a folded double layer of thin shiny metal that sits over the bridge, but it is not heavy. It has to be removed completely when not in use. I hope this small description gives you an idea of what it was.
Is that an orchestral? What is the difference between orchestral and private use and why can’t you use an orchestral for private use?
Thank you for any information you can provide.
Orchestral mutes seem to me to be intended to affect timbre rather than volume, and using them is an instruction in the score. I've got a very beautiful one made of rosewood.
Orchestral mutes are designed to change the timbre and produce a thinner sound, for effect. They're not meant to reduce the volume much at all; orchestral players are supposed to be able to play fortissimo with a mute on. These are small and lightweight and most commonly made of rubber, though you sometimes also see wire, wood, or leather orchestral mutes.
Thank you, Andrew Fryer and Andrew Hsieh.
I have one like this, and it mutes things far more than my orchestral mute.
Use cottonballs to protect your ears. The orchestral mutes are not for reducing volume.
I agree with everyone above.
I have a mute like the one Elizabeth posted above. I don’t use it often as I prefer to practice without one, but it does work very well.
Have you seen this link, which pops up on Google https://www.simplyforstrings.com.au/blog/guide-mutes/
I have earplugs, and they are intended for musicians, but they aren't very comfy. So I tend to use the practice mute instead.
Yes, Kim, I have a new violin! I love it. It is warmer, not as bright as the Revelle 500QX was. This was a few hundred over the budget, but I am not going to be trading up to get some orchestral violin. I am doing this for myself and wanted one that I liked the sound of when playing, and listening to recordings of before I share with my granddaughters (I am trying to get them interested). The violin shop let us spread it out over three months, no interest, so it is very doable. The bonus is that not only do I love the sound, I love the feel and I love the darker color. This one was made in Germany. Not like the more expensive ones made elsewhere, but for me, this is beyond “fine”.
I had the same problem with ear sensitivity during practice and tried various bridge mutes which worked well to varying degrees but eventually settled on special acoustical earplugs designed for musicians, as Elizabeth mentions above but there are many different styles and types. Mine are designed to allow accurate hearing, but with reduced volume, maintaining sound quality. They have different size tips made with a very soft and comfortable silicone and work very well, still allowing fairly normal conversation as well.
Cynthia I’m so glad you found a violin you love!!! Everyone should love the sound their violin’s voice and shouldn’t settle for less.
i like the Glaesel version of the two hole tourte when I want to kill volume, but don’t want to put on a rubber practice mute. The squarish design has more mass than most string -mounted designs and that mass is distributed in a way that I think dissipates more frequencies than round designs.
The little circle ones are orchestra mutes. They are not really for volume, they create a specific tone.
LOL Thanks, Gemma.