A new mute

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by trumpetmike, Jul 19, 2005.

  1. trumpetmike

    trumpetmike Well-Known Member

    I have just received the first sotto voce mute to arrive in the UK and thought people might be interested in this new piece of equipment.


    The sotto voce has been designed by David Hickman and Eric Baker, the new Sotto Voce straight mute is perfect for soft passages such as Enesco's LEGEND, Copland's QUIET CITY, Shostakovich's PIANO CONCERTO NO. 1, SYMPHONY NO. 1, Debussy's FETES, and hundreds of other works. Beautiful, warm sound. Easy blow resistance. Great intonation in all registers. This mute does NOT sound dead like many practice mutes, nor does it have the "nasal" sound of many straight mutes. A MUST for all serious performers!

    (from the website http://www.hickmanmusiceditions.com/select2.asp?selection=39 - where this mute can be purchased).

    Well, it is now 24 hours since I first came into contact with my sotto voce mute and I have had the chance to give it a good workout. During today I played it alongside my normal mute selections (Wick metal, Wick wooden and Bach plastic) in a variety of pieces and excerpts, at varying dynamics and on both trumpet and cornet.
    I love this mute.
    If you want a mute that is going to cut through an orchestra/band - look elsewhere.
    This has been designed for soft playing and it is simply superb at this. The tone is like having the volume control, on the muted part of your tone, being turned down. You know it is muted, but it doesn't feel the need to shout this fact at you, neither does it hide the fact like many practice mutes.
    The tone is very easy throughout the range of the instrument and remains the same from below the stave to above it. Even when right down on bottom F#, the intonation is still excellent and it still sounds like a muted trumpet - something I have noticed about some other mutes is that when you play low and quiet with them, it sounds almost open - not with this one.
    This is the perfect mute for places where you need to be playing quietly, yet still be muted - Bernstein is going to be made a great deal easier with this one (the end of West Side Story, for example) as well as all the works/excerpts that everyone else has mentioned.
    Price wise, this is an amazing mute. $35 compares very favourably with just about every other mute you can buy - cheaper than the Wick, Tom Crown or JoRal ranges - even with shipping costs being added on!
    My only concern about the mute is transporting it. My mutes all live in a big bag and they do hit against each other. With the number of metal mutes in there, I can see the cloth covering of the sotto voce getting torn, if not going straight through the whole mute. I might have to carry this one around in a box, just to protect it - it is worth protecting.
    I am now trying to plan a recital where I can use this mute - just because I can :D
    If you haven't got one - you should probably get one. You might not use it every time a mute is asked for, but when you want to play a ppp muted passage, you will want one at your fingertips.
    I should also mention the service - the service I received from HME has been simply superb - ordered and received within a week (shipped to the UK), no hassles, no problems.

    If you are playing pieces that require the cornet section to be playing at pp, en masse, this mute could be the perfect addition to your mute collection. It makes an excellent contrast to the Wick metal mute, which is the standard for most players.