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Mute Stories VII - Practice Mutes

 
Practice MutesIn 2006, my assistant, Bill Camp and I decided we needed a practice mute. Bill had good ideas, which after extensive testing worked to produce what we think is a superior practice mute for Bb-C trumpet and later for its little brother the piccolo trumpet . The idea was to take the body of our Wah-wah mute, remove the Wah-wah cup and make the end of the mute flat. As the Wah-wah mute is sealed in the bell  with a ring of cork there would have to a hole or holes  to allow  the sound to escape. We tested two holes, three four and five holes and finally decided that the ideal arrangement was four small holes, evenly spaced around the edge of the bottom of the mute.

Our practice mute has very good intonation, a good neutral muted trumpet sound and almost no backup pressure. It is also ideal for very soft orchestral muted passages.  Shortly after development of the practice mute, my friend Andrea Lucchi, first trumpet of the Santa Cecilia Orchestra of Rome and his two colleagues, used three practice mutes for Debussy Fètes. I have included a picture of the trumpet section and a link to Fètes. (click on the arrow to the far left. I hope it works). Since then many orchestras have used our practice mute for Fètes and other very soft trumpet passages. later we developed a piccolo trumpet practice mute, ideal for warming up at church services and practicing at home.