Con Sordino – with this term in the notes, the composer suggests using a muffler to obtain the desired timbre. The muffler is not only for mute, so that you can practice calmly without disturbing your neighbor; It is also a color tool that will allow us to experiment with sound and explore new possibilities of our instrument.
Rubber silencer Rubber silencers are the most commonly used silencers in classical music. The designation con sordino suggests the use of just this type of damper, which softens, mutes and gives the instrument a slightly nasal sound. It reduces most noise, accidental knocks and makes the color darker. The most popular orchestral faders are produced by the Tourte company. Its offer includes mufflers for violins, viola, cello and even double bass. Classic rubber, round silencer has two cutouts for strings and a tooth to hook the stand. It should be placed between the stand and the tailpiece, between the pair of middle strings (if you have a werewolf there, put it on the other pair), with the notch facing the stand. To use it, just move the damper to the bridge and place it on it, hooking the spike on the socket and pressing it very lightly. The profiled Tourte damper (available only for violins and viola) is put on only one string, in the case of a violin it is optimal D, and in the case of a viola – G. It is a good solution for instruments with werewrap. On the other hand, for the cello and the double bass, there are rubber dampers in the form of combs, placed on the top of the stand and removed from the instrument; they are not left at the stand after removal. A great invention is a product of the Bech company – the only thing that distinguishes them from classic rubber silencers is the magnet built into the “back” of the silencer – when it is removed from the base, the magnet sticks it to the tailpiece and locks it – thus, when playing senza sordino, the silencer will not cause unnecessary humming and noises. It works great especially in solo or chamber music, where any undesirable rustle and murmur disrupts the musical course of the piece. Available for violins, viola and cello. An interesting product is also the Spector silencer. Its flat, rectangular shape inhibits all casual noises and easy mounting on the stand is perfect when a quick and noiseless change from senza to con sordino and vice versa is required. An additional, brown color variant enables an aesthetic selection of a damper to the rest of the instrument’s accessories. On the other hand, when there is more time to install a muffler in the performed piece, to avoid noise, you can use the Heifetz muffler, which is permanently removable from the instrument.
Wooden silencers The sound of string instruments with a wooden muffler is slightly harder and louder than when using rubber mufflers. Due to their weight and hardness, they are produced exclusively for violins, violas and cellos. They are most often used in contemporary music, less often in romantic orchestral music. Usually they are in the form of combs and are removed from the instrument after use. They are mostly made of ebony, but for fans of brown accessories, there is a rosewood madman.
Metal silencers Metal silencers are most often called “hotel silencers”. Among all the silencers, they mute the instrument the most, making its sound inaudible to the person staying in the next room. These are heavy dampers pulled from the instrument, most often in the form of a comb, inaccessible to the double bass. You should be particularly careful when assembling and playing them, as improperly placed on the stand may fall off, destroy the varnish or even seriously damage the instrument. Metal mufflers are used mainly for practice purposes in conditions that do not allow the use of the full sound of the instruments. They are slightly more expensive than rubber and wooden silencers, but having it will allow you to practice at any time of the day or night.
An interesting invention is the Roth – Sion violin damper. It allows you to gently mute the sound of an instrument without significantly altering its sound. To place it on the instrument, place two metal hooks on the central strings. To apply it, a rubber tube is placed on the stand. The application is simple and the sound is muted. Due to the metal parts, the muffler may make a little noise. However, it is one of the few solutions that retain the original timbre of the instrument.
The choice of mufflers on the music accessories market is extremely wide depending on the musician’s needs. Every instrumentalist playing in an orchestra should necessarily be equipped with a rubber silencer, as in many works its use is indispensable. The cost of these accessories is small, and the effects we can achieve are extremely interesting and diverse.