Brass Mutes

In my initial posts on the brass instruments, I did not spend a lot of time covering mutes.  Here, I rectify this.  It’s virtually impossible to write about the sound of mutes.  Instead, I will link to videos demonstrating the different varieties.


This video demonstrates four different trumpet mutes: bucket, straight, cup, and harmon (a.k.a. bubble or wah-wah).

This video is by the same player using a different brand of mutes: harmon, fiber straight, cup, and plunger.

Demonstration of a plunger mute.

Demonstration of a harmon mute

Performance on a bucket mute

Debussy’s Fetes from Nocturnes. One of the most famous muted trumpet passages in the orchestral literature.

All trumpet mutes work on cornet.

Piccolo Trumpet 

“Samuel Goldenberg and Schmulye” from Pictures at an Exhibition


Demonstration of straight, cup, bucket, and plunger

Demonstration of a bucket mute

Demonstration of harmon and solotone mutes


Demonstration of a straight mute

Demonstration of a cup mute

Euphonium and Tuba

Demonstration of straight (practice) mute on Euphonium.

Euphoniums and Tubas using cup mutes

Demonstration of a straight mute for tuba

Demonstration of a bucket mute for tuba

…and now for something completely different…