The Dreaded Mute Drop!

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by ilikethetrumpet, Apr 10, 2007.

  1. tpter1

    tpter1 Forte User

    Jan 12, 2005
    Northern New York
    I've got a couple...:-( and they all involve me.

    On my first recital, sophmore year, I was doing 2 movements of Kennan. I had this stone-lined cup I was using in the slow movement. I filed it way down. (By now, I'm sure you can guess where this is going). Well, go ahead...hum the first few notes of the slow movement (bah..dah dah wah CLUNK!). Embarassing.

    Fast forward a few years. First concert as principal trumpet in the wind ensemble I'm with. We're doing Prelude and Variations on Gone is my Mistris, by Sclater. There's this andante variation in 3/4, with a solo for cornet 1 then maybe 2 measures rest to get the mute in. So, I put it in my lap. Well, tux pants don't have the same gripping power as jeans do. I learned that first hand as the mute fell to the floor and produced a rather loud and resonant sounding thump on the riser.
  2. Manny Laureano

    Manny Laureano Utimate User

    Sep 29, 2004
    I had a lovely moment a couple of seasons ago playing Iberia. In the first movement, there's a fairly quick open/muted change and I didn't secure it enough. Y'all can imagine the lovely sound of a muted trumpet that suddenly is open before its time, not to mention the clunkety clatter of the gravity-challenged mute hitting the floor while we're playing.

  3. Derek Reaban

    Derek Reaban Mezzo Piano User

    Jun 16, 2005
    Tempe, Arizona
    Man, Chip’s story was painful to read…ouch!

    My worst mute drop was with the wind ensemble that I currently play with. We were doing a piece with a large choir and the concert was being recorded for submittal to the Suddler? Award committee. The trumpets are seated on high risers in front of the trombones and the bones are on shorter risers. During a very delicate choral pianissimo I had just finished playing a line with my metal straight mute. As I was taking the mute out, quickly getting ready for the next entrance, and in the process of setting the mute down, it flew out of my hand. It banged my riser twice, hitting one of the mutes of the player sitting next to me; both mutes fell onto the trombone riser clanking and clattering for what seemed like an eternity, and then my mute fell through the opening between the two risers onto the stage floor directly beneath me. I could have died!

    Then I had to get up after my next entrance to collect my mute from underneath the riser (on my hands and knees). Good grief. Did I feel like an idiot.

    I feel like I’m part of a 12 step group by posting on this thread. Hi. I’m Derek and I’m a mute dropper!
  4. ccNochops

    ccNochops Piano User

    Sep 30, 2006
    White Marsh, VA
    Geez, y'all need some help here....

    Think of this mute drop thing as "bad juju" and the ONLY way to resolve it is as a section. Try a simultaneous sectional mute kick (ssmk) PRIOR to the conductor begining the concert. Keep in mind a truely great section can do this on the upbeat to the first note. Once y'all have gotten this outta the way, nobody will have anymore problems for the rest of the evening. A simple explaination by the principle to the audience will give ample time for the conductor to regain some composure and off y'all go.....simple. Glad to be of some help here AND I also get my name off the header for not posting in several weeks ROFL
  5. timcates

    timcates Pianissimo User

    Jan 17, 2004
    Texas - USA
    Sunday morning church service playing smooth-jazz harmon muted fills behind a vocalist- I'm in nice and tight on the mic going for that Miles-esq/proximity effect sound and suddenly the horn is open (and really flat!) and we have extra percussion as the mute hits the mic first (BOOM!!) and then rattles on the riser (CLANK, CLank, clank)....

    "can I just go home now?"


    the moral of the story: be very careful, especially if you strip the lacquer off your horn, to keep your harmon cork maintained...
  6. Sotto Voce

    Sotto Voce Mezzo Piano User

    Feb 13, 2006
    I just have to say, the Sotto Voce was designed to be soft while in the horn AND hitting the floor or risers!

    Not really, but it is pretty quiet even if you drop it!
  7. Principaltrumpet

    Principaltrumpet Pianissimo User

    Nov 7, 2006
    north texas
    I lent a friend one of my harmon mutes for a Jazz concert we had to play a couple of years ago. We get to the passage and it is just 2 trumpets and a piano playing. I am sitting there playing and the next thing I know I see my mute fall 6 ft, land on the leg of the stand and roll a ways. As soon as I was done playing I looked at him and we both started rolling on the floor laughing, until I saw the mute at least. You remember that concert Russ?
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2007
  8. DubbaCTrumpetMSU

    DubbaCTrumpetMSU Mezzo Piano User

    Dec 29, 2006
    Ft. Worth, TX
    True story there ^. I dinged the crap outta that mute!! We got a laugh out of it though. It wasn't the best timing in the world to lose it, and I still don't know how it flew as far as it did...
  9. green_eagle18

    green_eagle18 Pianissimo User

    Jun 25, 2006
    Denton, TX.
    My story doesn't involve a mute drop, but it is incredibly awkward and emarassing. But does involve a mute.

    I was playing in my band's wind ensemble and we were at a music festival. I was playing some slow lyrical stuff with my straight mute on. I pulled it out and bent down to place it on the ground. When I rose up to play the next passage, my bell struck the music stand and caused several people to turn and look. It was so embarassing. Once we got back to the school and listened to the recording. Everyone started laughing when they heard it on the recording. Luckily it didnt cause too much disturbance, but did leave on heck of a dent on my bell.
  10. John P

    John P Piano User

    Jun 16, 2006
    Camp Hill, PA
    I've got a pretty good one. I was playing in the pit for West Side Story in my junior year of high school. All went well until the very end. Right after Tony got shot, Maria was leaning over him. The entire theatre was dead silent. Right at that moment, my tom crown straight mute fell out of my bell and onto the cement floor, bouncing, rolling, scraping. My orchestra director shot me the funniest look of shock I've ever seen. The drop couldn't have been any more obvious.

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