9 Types Of Mutes For Brass

9 Types Of Mutes For Brass - Vigomusica.com

Small Guide Of The Main Types Of Mutes For Brass Instruments

Choosing a mute is essential to be able to modify the real sound of the instrument while always maintaining the sound quality of wind instruments.

As its name indicates the function, the main function of the mutes is to turn off or deafen the sound. But it is something so simple since the different designs and materials of the mutes manage to imprint their character on each one.

That is why in this post, as a guide, you will discover the main models of mutes and their characteristics:

1. Straight Mute

It is the most common mute. Shaped like a hollow cone, this mute is inserted into the bell of the instrument and is held in place by corks.

It is characterized by a precise sound, which modifies the timbre, making it more metallic and nasal. Comfortable for all registers and with relatively little resistance, it allows a very good intonation. It performs especially well in pieces for classical music, orchestra, full band, or similar genres, where a muted but clear sound is required. Among its strengths are its robust construction and its solid fit.

2. Mute Cup

Very similar to the straight, the cup mute has a truncated cone that fits the bell and allows the sound to bounce back, thus achieving a duller and darker timbre.

The sound through a Cup-type mute can sound especially smooth and harmonious. Inside there is a rubber edge and a felt cover. The result is a dull but full and warm sound. A particularly interesting effect for jazz ballads, pop ballads, musicals, or film music.

3. Harmon Mute

The first patent for the Harmon mute was made in New York in 1865, under a different name, by John F. Stratton. The patent reflects that it is an accessory that connects the bell with an adjustable tube that allows the performer to muffle the sound without the instrument changing pitch. A century later, this mute, to which a kind of cup was added to the end of the tube to obtain the wah-wah sound, acquired the name of the company that marketed it, Harmon.

4. Stop Mute

It is used to almost completely turn off the sound and shift the pitch of notes by a semitone. In ancient times it was one of the most used, although today this mute is practically only used by horn players.

5. Plunger Mute

It is not known who was the first to pick up a bathroom plunger to modify the sound of his trombone or trumpet, but the truth is that the plunger mute is used frequently in jazz. It has a different technique from the rest since sounds can be combined with the movement of the hand.

6. Study Mutes / Electronic Study

In the section of studio mutes, the Silent Brass systems stand out, which shows a completely different approach to the aspect of individual sound.

These mutes, apart from practically muting the sound, allow you to hear yourself amplified through headphones but they don’t stop at that: you can also connect an accompaniment to them to play over it that comes out through the headphones and they even have an output (line-out) that opens the possibility of recording what was performed on a computer, for example.

7. Mute Wah-Wah

Its name says it all: the two pieces that make it up give a lot of play and by using your hand you can generate the effect that gives this mute its name. Of course, its sound is very bright and penetrating, so it is not usually used in a more classical setting.

8. Whisper Mute

It is the softest of all and causes a distant effect on the listener. Its construction is similar to the wah-wah, but it filters, even more, removing the highest and lowest frequencies and leaving only the mids. Therefore, the use of this type of model can suppose an extra effort to try to play high notes with it.

9. Bucket Mute

Its construction causes a somewhat weak sound to come out of it, but within that, it is a very soft and velvety sound, as well as sweet.

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