Although one of the first examples of muting a stringed instrument can be found in Act II of Jean-Baptiste Lully's "Armide", mutes for orchestral strings were not widespread until romantic composers began searching for new timbres in their orchestras during the 19th century. Today, mutes for orchestra strings are very common. In fact, styles for performance and practice purposes are designed by leading stringed instrument manufacturers like The String Centre, Tourte, Glaesel and Super Sensitive.
While performance and practice mutes both absorb the vibrations of your instrument's strings, they have their own unique characteristics that make them more suitable to what their names imply. Two types of performance mutes exist: one type slides on to the bridge and has to be removed when it's not being used. The other (and more popular type) is semi-permanent; it sits behind the bridge and easily slides or rolls up to contact the bridge when you want to use it. Tourte's Two Hole Mutes are the "standard" in stringed instrument mutes and are available for the violin, viola, cello and double bass. These best sellers are easy to install and known for their exceptional muting power and balanced sound.
As for practice mutes, you'll come across an impressive variety of models in this section. Practice mutes should be in the gig bag of every stringed instrument musician because they're ideal for honing your skills at anytime, anywhere (for example, if you live in an apartment and prefer to practice late at night). The String Centre's practice mutes come in many styles for each orchestral stringed instrument. Their Ultra Rubber Practice Mutes are top sellers and they also offer a metal practice mute for maximum dampening of your sound.
Whatever mute catches your attention, it's important to handle them with care when they're placed on your stringed instrument. Truthfully, the best way to decide which mute is right for you is to try more than one. It's not uncommon for orchestra members to have two mutes in their accessory bag - and as you can see from your choices, they're very affordable. Whether you play the violin, viola, cello or double bass, a mute is an essential practice tool and this catalog has more than enough options to choose from.
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