How did mutes evolve?

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NamePlate
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How did mutes evolve?

Post by NamePlate » Tue Sep 28, 2021 8:00 pm

Not directly trombone related but the question has been nagging me the past few days. When did the mutes we use today exist and why do we only use certain mutes? I just kinda accept that it is this way but don’t actually know why.
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Re: How did mutes evolve?

Post by GabrielRice » Wed Sep 29, 2021 7:28 am

As with most things, there are vintage mute enthusiasts, and there's even a website!

http://www.vintagemutes.com/
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robcat2075
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Re: How did mutes evolve?

Post by robcat2075 » Wed Sep 29, 2021 8:10 am

Here's your crown... Tom Crown!

I haven't watched it all but it appears to be a substantive treatment by him of the history of brass mutes.

Mutes From Monteverdi to Miles: The story of brass instrument mutes from before Monteverdi to Miles and beyond.


c. 1900-1920 seems to be a golden age of crazy mutes as both orchestral composers and jazz performers were looking for new sounds to distance them from convention.

I recall reading a commentary long ago complaining that French were so stuck on mutes that one almost never heard a real trumpet sound in French orchestral music.
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robcat2075
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Re: How did mutes evolve?

Post by robcat2075 » Wed Sep 29, 2021 2:06 pm

robcat2075 wrote:
Wed Sep 29, 2021 8:10 am
Here's your crown... Tom Crown!

I haven't watched it all but it appears to be a substantive treatment by him of the history of brass mutes.

Mutes From Monteverdi to Miles: The story of brass instrument mutes from before Monteverdi to Miles and beyond.
I don't think I've ever heard that 1924 version of "Rhapsody in Blue" that he excerpts.

That clarinet is insane. Why are we not doing that today? :D
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BGuttman
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Re: How did mutes evolve?

Post by BGuttman » Wed Sep 29, 2021 4:51 pm

The clarinetist in the 1924 version was using a "Klezmer" style; one that would have been very familiar to Gershwin and any other Jewish musician. I wonder if he was told to play it that way.
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robcat2075
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Re: How did mutes evolve?

Post by robcat2075 » Wed Sep 29, 2021 5:30 pm

BGuttman wrote:
Wed Sep 29, 2021 4:51 pm
I wonder if he was told to play it that way.
Gershwin was the pianist on that recording so he at least approved. The long glissando wasn't Gershwin's idea either, but he kept it after he heard it.

I'm not convinced that is very "Klezmer"

It sounds more like the "laughing sax" stuff that seems to have been a fad.



I like how that guy can even do pizzicato n his sax. :D
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BGuttman
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Re: How did mutes evolve?

Post by BGuttman » Wed Sep 29, 2021 5:39 pm

I think your "laughing sax" was just a saxophone playing Klezmer style. A Klezmer clarinet would try to make his instrument "cry".

Klezmer music dates from the earliest days of Ragtime; a bit before the development of Jazz.
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NamePlate
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Re: How did mutes evolve?

Post by NamePlate » Wed Sep 29, 2021 6:21 pm

robcat2075 wrote:
Wed Sep 29, 2021 8:10 am
Here's your crown... Tom Crown!

I haven't watched it all but it appears to be a substantive treatment by him of the history of brass mutes.

Mutes From Monteverdi to Miles: The story of brass instrument mutes from before Monteverdi to Miles and beyond.
This was an excellent watch. It’s clarified a bunch of stuff for me. Thanks
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Re: How did mutes evolve?

Post by robcat2075 » Wed Sep 29, 2021 8:08 pm


I should be very curious to see the original source of this depiction (from the video) if it is indeed authentic.

TutTrumpet.jpg
TutTrumpet.jpg (86.61 KiB) Viewed 598 times
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Re: How did mutes evolve?

Post by HowardW » Thu Sep 30, 2021 2:21 am

NamePlate wrote:
Tue Sep 28, 2021 8:00 pm
Not directly trombone related but the question has been nagging me the past few days. When did the mutes we use today exist and why do we only use certain mutes? I just kinda accept that it is this way but don’t actually know why.
Nothing against Tom Crown, who is a lovely guy and a good friend, but there is a very good article about mutes by acoustician/physicist Murray Campbell in the Cambridge Encyclopedia of Brass Instruments.

And for information about the earliest music calling for muted trombones and photos of the only known 17th/18th century trombone mute, see my article “Trombone in sordino: Muted Trombones in the Baroque Era,” Historic Brass Society Journal 28 (2016): 57–72.

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Re: How did mutes evolve?

Post by harrisonreed » Thu Sep 30, 2021 3:01 am

My question is why is the straight up peter gane mute so underrated?
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Re: How did mutes evolve?

Post by afugate » Thu Sep 30, 2021 6:04 am

Here's a link to a full video of the 1924 Paul Whiteman orchestra performing Rhapsody in Blue.



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BGuttman
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Re: How did mutes evolve?

Post by BGuttman » Thu Sep 30, 2021 7:32 am

afugate wrote:
Thu Sep 30, 2021 6:04 am
Here's a link to a full video of the 1924 Paul Whiteman orchestra performing Rhapsody in Blue.



--Andy in OKC
This is taken at a pretty good clip. Don't know if it was the turntable speed, the conductor trying to hasten things for time, or what. An early electric recording (microphones rather than horns). Also a lot of cuts, both in the solo part and the accompaniment.

My parents had this recording and I played it time and again until I managed to break one of the disks :weep: Then I discovered it re-released on Vinyl by RCA Vintage. Still have that one.

There is a lot more muting of the brass than in modern playing editions.
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Re: How did mutes evolve?

Post by robcat2075 » Thu Sep 30, 2021 12:07 pm

The 1927 version has about haff the laff of the '24...





By 1935, the first complete recording, the laughter has stopped...

:weep:






RiB shows up on clarinet audition lists. I wonder what the current wisdom is in aspiring clarinet circles. Do they practice the laugh, just in case? :idk:
Last edited by robcat2075 on Thu Sep 30, 2021 8:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: How did mutes evolve?

Post by CalgaryTbone » Thu Sep 30, 2021 8:54 pm

We have done the 1924 version of "Rhapsody in Blue" a couple of times here, and had another performance of it schedules before Covid hit.

I actually prefer playing the re-orchestrated version for full orchestra, but the trombone part isn't that different. I like the full sound of the larger group, though.

Jim Scott
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