We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What Is a Violin Mute?

By J.E. Holloway
Updated May 23, 2024
Our promise to you
Musical Expert is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At Musical Expert, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

A violin mute is a small device, usually made of wood, leather or rubber, with slots in it spaced to accommodate the strings. A violinist places a mute over the bridge of the violin to dampen the sound made by the strings. The mute increases the mass of the bridge, which has the effect of reducing the amplitude of the vibrations and limiting audible harmonics. There are two main types of violin mute, each of which serves a different purpose.

An orchestral mute, also known as a sordino, is a small mute used in performance. By placing the mute over the bridge, the violinist reduces the overtones produced by the strings, giving the violin a smoother, more mellow sound. In performance, the orchestral mute produces a hushed effect, especially when used by all the violins in a string section. The musical direction "con sordina," or "con sord," indicates that a mute is to be used. Danish composer Carl Nielsen recommended a specific type of wooden violin mute for performances of his music.

There are two types of orchestral violin mute. The clamp type is detachable and can be placed on the bridge and removed. The sliding type attaches permanently to the strings. When a sliding mute is not in use, the violinist leaves it attached to the strings between the bridge and tailpiece of the violin.

A practice mute, also known as a hotel mute, is a larger mute which is seldom used in performance. While the orchestral mute dampens the sound of the violin, the practice mute dampens it even further. Violinists who want to practice in crowded areas such as apartment buildings and hotels sometimes use a practice mute to avoid disturbing their neighbors.

In addition to a violin mute, violinists who want to practice without disturbing others sometimes use a mute violin, a violin with no soundbox or with a very small soundbox. Since they lack a soundbox, mute violins do not amplify the sound made by the vibrating strings. This produces a thin, quiet sound, allowing the violinist to tell if his or her playing is correct but not disturbing other listeners. Violins of this type have existed since the 18th century.

Other stringed instruments can also use mutes, which resemble violin mutes. Like violin mutes, they fit over the bridge, dampening the vibrations and quieting the sound of the instrument. Instruments which use mutes include the cello and the viola.

Musical Expert is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By Azuza — On Feb 14, 2012

I think a lot of instruments have "mutes" or ways you can make them a bit quieter. For instance, the piano has a soft pedal and there's even a such thing as a practice drum that makes much less noise than a regular drum.

I'm personally glad of this. Music is wonderful and enriching, but I've been living in apartments for most of my adult life so far. The last thing I want to hear is my neighbors kid working on their latest drum solo or violin masterpiece. Save it for the school concerts!

By KaBoom — On Feb 13, 2012

@sunnySkys - The first time I heard about a violin mute, I thought it would be perfect for students who are learning and don't want to disturb others with their playing. If I ever have kids who want to take up stringed instruments, I'll look into something like a practice mute violin.

However, I never thought a violin mute might have performance applications. I suppose it makes sense though, I've seen orchestral performances where it seems like one group of violinists were kind of playing in the background. I bet they were using violin mutes!

By sunnySkys — On Feb 12, 2012

My little sister played violin when she was in the fifth grade, and I think she might have been the worst violinist in the history of the violin. Seriously. It was like screeching cats and nails on a chalkboard all rolled into one.

I can't believe my parents never thought to get a practice violin mute for her. It would have been better for everyone in the house and anyone who happened to be walking by on the street.

Luckily, my sisters love for the violin only lasted for one school year. But man, that was a long school year.

Musical Expert, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

Musical Expert, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.