Use of mutes when playing outdoors

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by tubafran, Aug 2, 2004.


Do you play with mutes outdoors?

  1. Yes

  2. No

  3. Depends

  1. tubafran

    tubafran Active Member

    Interesting opinion given at our rehearsal last night "we never play with mutes outside so no point in practising with them in". This relates to our forthcoming tour to Holland when we will be playing outdoor in cobbled squares surrounded by stone buildings.
  2. Dave Payn

    Dave Payn Active Member

    Trouble is, if you adopt that approach, you might as well go the whole hog and say, 'sod the quiet dynamics as well' because some of your audiences won't hear them either. It's a fact of life of playing outdoors. Some acoustics will work better than others, but I'd prefer, at least for the audience in close proximity, to use mutes. It regulates what otherwise might become monotonous.

    That's just me, though! ;-)
  3. Naomi McFadyen

    Naomi McFadyen New Member

    ^ agree


    I remember always doing so when I was in Saltash and Plymouth bands... and why not!?! you can always play out to the audience a bit more and lift ya instruments (if ur a cornet) more which increases 65% volume.... like with anything, it's just balance...
    Easy way out to avoid using them!...

    Whimps :p :lol:

  4. tubafran

    tubafran Active Member


    Will post my opinion on this early. I think they should be used. What about the specific effects required when using Harmon Mute etc?. Funny thing was, having passed a comment about mutes the stand-in conductor spent the rest of the rehearsal telling us all to play quieter :roll: .

    Only one man to decide this for me and that will be Ploughboy who's conducting us on the tour.
  5. lynchie

    lynchie Active Member

    It depends for me... if they're used simply for dynamic control (as cup mutes are sometimes for us big blasty trombonists...) then I'd leave them for outdoors, but if they're used for a particular sound then of course you should use them (something I once had a long argument with a principal about once...)
  6. cornetchap

    cornetchap Member

    In my experience as a cornet player mutes are used to add tonal colour to a piece, so should be used regardless of the venue.
  7. Dave Payn

    Dave Payn Active Member

    I'd like to think that composers and arrangers deploying mutes would do so solely for tone colouring and not simply dynamic control! Maybe I should leave my residence in the Isle of Ideal World..... ;-)
  8. ploughboy

    ploughboy Active Member

    I think mutes SHOULD be used, because it's a diiferent texture not just to quieten the sound.
  9. Naomi McFadyen

    Naomi McFadyen New Member

    Dave took the words right outta my mouth! :lol:
  10. TuTuKu

    TuTuKu Active Member

    We're not taking mutes on our foriegn tour this year for 2 reasons

    1) there's only 2 pieces that require mutes
    2)The band own the mutes, rather that the players buying them, so to save them being lost they are stored together in two huge crates! So there's more room in the trailor if we don;t have them, and less faffing when we get there.

    This year we're not using them for domestic concerts (outside) but we have done in the past. I suppose it depends on how much demand for them there is in the programme. If we can get away wihout using them, we do! Much less faffing!
  11. Dave Payn

    Dave Payn Active Member

    Re: Mutes

    That's all very well, but is Garry going to conduct, or, as his avatar suggests, beat time with a bass drum??? Bit of an un-necessary nuisance for a foreign trip, isn't it?? ;-) ;-) :lol: :lol:
  12. ploughboy

    ploughboy Active Member

    I might wag with the bass drum stick Dave, go half an half!
  13. DublinBass

    DublinBass Supporting Member

    Re: Mutes

    I think as a general rule no. No need for mutes with tubas, baris, euphs or horns. (You can just play into the stand if you need to be softer)

    I agree that if harmon mutes or plungers are required it is for the sound, not to be quieter and they should be used.
  14. WoodenFlugel

    WoodenFlugel Moderator Staff Member

    Generally we use them outside and I think that is the right thing to do. As has been said, mutes are used to alter the tonal colouring not neccesarily quieten the sound. So they really ought to be used whether inside or out.
  15. PeterBale

    PeterBale Moderator Staff Member

    I would agree that in general mutes should be used, for the reasons already stated of varying the sound and texture, but accept that there can be difficulties if the band is standing, rather than sitting down.
  16. Well Worth It

    Well Worth It Active Member

    I give you about an hour Garry before you get tired of that idea!
  17. ian perks

    ian perks Active Member

    Only Used One Once At A Contest 2003 Area

    1st Section And Come 3rd And Qualifed For National Finals.
    Solo Baritone
  18. ed_the_euph

    ed_the_euph Member

    I think it's a case of horses for courses, sense must prevail!!! I've done outside concerts, esp. on grass, where the sound just gets swallowed up.. it all depends on the piece, the venue, and the distance from spectators! If it the muted cornet can't be heard over on the trombone stand.. what is the point of them playing? (like we were listening?!? ) For the Holland trip Fran, I would have thought it would be worth taking them.. cobbled streets and market squares tend to bounce the sound around a bit.. so the audiences will hear everything.. at least once! lol, so it might as well have all the desired texture and tone-quality intended! again, sense must prevail.. if the mutes as a whole are a pain in the bumm to commute.. and only required for 2 pieces.. then stuff it, get em to shove their hands up em! - Enjoy the trip anyway!
  19. tubafran

    tubafran Active Member

    Thanks for that posting (if late) as we got back from Holland at the end of August. Yes we used them as we played in the cobbled squares you describe and one performance in a small concert Hall.

    The trip was good and Holland is a great place to visit, we have been to Belgium for the last two years and particularly enjoyed the northern bit (Dutch speaking). Thought we'd go the whole hog this year and miss the French speaking bits. On balance I think Northern Belgium has more going for it than Holland though.
  20. a very flat b

    a very flat b Member

    Glad one of you mentioned the Basses, i'd visions of carrying a Bass mute around on the Christmas busking run!:shock: