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Trumpet Discussion Discuss The Dreaded Mute Drop! in the General forums; Hi all, I just got back from having a beer with a TMer who visited my city tonight and played ...
  1. #1
    Pianissimo User
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    Sep 2006
    Iowa City, Iowa

    The Dreaded Mute Drop!

    Hi all,
    I just got back from having a beer with a TMer who visited my city tonight and played wonderfully in a concert. I only had a beer--when I left him, however, he was finishing his 125th ounce of boulevard wheat and appeared to be feeling fine. He's a wonderful guy, and sounded terrific. I will allow him to remain anonymous unless he chooses to claim responsibility!

    Now, this wonderful fellow had a very prominent mute drop in the middle of a chamber piece. A stemmed harmon fell at the feet of the solo marimbist, and I was afraid it would get stepped on. The marimbist, however, was alert and passed the mute back during a rest.

    And I got to thinking--don't we all have mute drop horror stories? Here's mine: it's my senior recital, and the first half went great. The first movement of the Tomasi went pretty well too. So, before the second, I put in the cup mute, cue the pianist, move my horn out, and--CLUNK! I somehow picked it up and reinserted it in the two measures between the drop and the first entrance, but man--was my "chi" off. It's like I realized my fly was open or something. And afterwards, some friends of mine started calling me "corky." Oddly enough, this wasn't long after Sammy Sosa got caught corking his bat, and I was a known Cubs fan, so that got worked into it in some obscure way.

    I'd have to say the best--and worst--mute to drop, in my experience, is the Bach plastic mute. It's fairly indestructible as far as denting goes, but it's pretty hollow, so it will bounce around. Once, a falling bach plastic mute clank four or five times on a hardwood stage. It played more notes than the tubist.

    Anyone else have any horror stories?
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  2. #2
    Piano User Walter's Avatar
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    Sep 2006

    Re: The Dreaded Mute Drop!

    I recently went to recital for trumpet and piano... the trumpeter playing was using and an array of mutes....on one piece he was doing a call and response piece using the harmon mute for the response. I watched as he moved back and forth from mute to no mute.....he held the mute in place during the short responses and the left it in for a longer passage. As a trumpet player I knew that by the way he inserted the mute it was going to fall out at some point...of course it did! It clunked onto the hardwood floor from his standing position and rolled back and forth...he didn't miss a beat and just the end of the piece and thunderous applause he casually picked up the mute...cracked a joke about the harmon and continued the concert.

    The trumpeter was a 19 year old award winner and will without doubt be famous one day but he will certainly need to control his harmon.


  3. #3
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    Apr 2007
    Kansas City

    Re: The Dreaded Mute Drop!

    My mute horror story:

    In my last year at Curtis I was sub-ing quite a bit with the Philadelphia Orchestra. I had done a run playing 6th on Mahler 2nd performances that went beautifully. Later that year they were out on tour in Ames, Iowa when they also had Mahler 2 programmed. To save rehearsal time on tour they brought out all the extra players who had done the Philadelphia performances. BIG paycheck for me, being flown out special from Phily to Ames for one rehearsal with the local university choir and a Friday night concert.
    So–The fifth movement comes around and myself and Ralph Buck removed our shoes to sneak offstage quietly. I had placed my Tom Crown mute underneath my chair so I wouldn't hit it when re-entering. We sneaked beautifully, played our parts just fine and were slipping back on stage while the choir was singing about quadruple piano, as were the trombones. It was electric, a moment for all there to remember their entire lives. I sat down, breathed a sigh of relief, slipped on my shoes, placed my feet under my chair and kicked my mute back 15 feet where it hit the shell and rolled around and around and around. Horrified, I shut my eyes. When I opened them and turned to look at the rest of the section all five faces were glaring right at me. Mr. Kaderabek, Seymore Rosenfeld, Don McCommas, Roger Blackburn, and Ralph Buck–all in a row, staring at me.

    Many years later I was in my present job in Kansas City. I casually mentioned to our timpanist that I had played Mahler 2nd with Philadelphia in Ames and he told me: "You were there? I was there in the audience, it was a great concert. Who was it that kicked over that mute in the last movement? Totally ruined the piece."
    "That was me, thank you!"
    He couldn't believe it. He said that the audience actually groaned in mass as the mute rolled around and around, it was so jarring it completely ruined the effect.
    I think I will remember that forever. I wish I could say it was the last time I dropped a mute at an inopportune time. But, alas, it was not.

  4. #4
    Pianissimo User Blazing Asian's Avatar
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    Nov 2006

    Re: The Dreaded Mute Drop!

    It was just a little while, I was playing at my high schools pops concert, (both orchestra and some band members together) and their was a long part with a cup mute and mine is one that attaches to my straight mute and right in the middle -ding- my metal cup part falls and just happens to start rolling and clinking. it was awful >>
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  5. #5
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    Nov 2003

    Re: The Dreaded Mute Drop!

    The soloist one week where I was playing was a very well known soprano. During a very quiet section of one of her arias my straight mute fell out of my horn and seemed to bounce for an eternity on the wooden risers. I felt so bad about it, and to say that the conductor was not amused would be the understatement of the year! Over thirty years ago, and I still blush when I think of it!
    Roy Griffin

  6. #6
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    Mar 2007
    Nashville Tennessee

    Re: The Dreaded Mute Drop!

    Funny, conductors seem to have no sense of humor when it comes to mute drops. lol

    T. Mac

  7. #7
    Fortissimo User trumpetnick's Avatar
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    Nov 2005
    Tekirova, Antalya, Turkey

    Re: The Dreaded Mute Drop!

    I am curious what will conductors do if a trombone or a tuba player drop his mute

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  8. #8
    Piano User Stile442's Avatar
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    Mar 2007
    Deland Fl

    Re: The Dreaded Mute Drop!

    Quote Originally Posted by trumpetnick View Post
    I am curious what will conductors do if a trombone or a tuba player drop his mute
    Probably have an anuerism of some other serious health complication. Depending on the conductor it might not be a bad thing.

    In all seriousness though, my worst mute drop had to be my senior year in HS at a jazz competition. I'm playin my solo with a harmon mute and right as I get into the upper register the mute falls out and hits the lead trombonist on the head. We laughed about it later, but for a second I though he was going to throw his stand at me.
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  9. #9
    Mezzo Forte User
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    Jan 2005

    Re: The Dreaded Mute Drop!

    A friend of mine kicked his straight mute off a riser during a band rehearsal. It rolled around and made lots of noise since the conductor was talking he stopped and looked over, so my friend got up, retrived the mute, sat down and handed it to the guy sitting next to him and said (loudly), "Here's your mute, John!"

  10. #10
    Piano User bilboinsa's Avatar
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    Jan 2006
    San Antonio, TX

    Re: The Dreaded Mute Drop!

    Quote Originally Posted by ilikethetrumpet View Post
    ...It played more notes than the tubist...

    My fav was when our church group played at a historical cathedral here in town, and the service is always carried on CATV. Anyhow, we're running through a few songs before we actually start, and I drop my aluminum straight. Believe me, nothing echoes like 300-year-old rock and stained glass. The other trumpeter gives me a little grief....yada yada yada. Now we are playing the service, and during one of our featured numbers, HE drops HIS. I leane dover to him and whispered, "That's why I dropped mine during PRACTICE!"
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