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The harmon mute was patented in 1925 by George Schluesselburg. It was one of a number of brass instrument mutes developed in the early years of the 20th century to appeal to the growing number of jazz performers. The harmon mute is unusual in that the cork sleeve completely encircles its upper rim, forcing the air through the mute rather than round its sides. The central stem can be adjusted to change the sound quality, but can also be removed altogether. This technique was pioneered by Miles Davis, whose 'ballad sound' is the result of a harmon mute with the stem removed. The narrow aperture of the small cup at the end of the stem also allows the player to close off the mute with palm of the hand. This allows a muffled articulation to be employed, as the hand is slowly removed and replaced. The effect was famously used for the voices of the adults in the television series based on the 'Peanuts' cartoons.

See full details Description

Harmon or wah-wah mute for a trumpet. Spun aluminium. Stamped: HAWKES & SON/LONDON. Cup and integral tube (stem) slide into main body of mute so that length can be adjusted. Bought by the Horniman Museum as part of a set with the Clippertone trumpet (M30-1993).


Musical Instruments

1 item (description level: part)
Broad category
Musical Instruments, Aerophone component
Additional names, titles, or classifications
catalogue name:  mute
classified as:  mute

Additional maker information
maker:  Hawkes & Son
London, England, UK, Western Europe, Europe
Additional place information
made:  London 
Date made
before 1930
Additional date information
before 1930 

Materials & techniques
aluminium; cork; metal
Additional material & technique information
material: cork (overall)
material: metal (overall)
material: aluminium (overall)
overall: 169 x 100 mm
Additional measurement information
overall: 169 x 100 mm

Related objects
part of valve trumpet (M30-1993) part of the same set:  valve trumpet (object-16113)
Related subjects
object name (Horniman Ethno.): mutes
material: aluminium
material: cork
material: metal

Record created 1999-12-26 by GWERE
Record last updated 2016-10-10 by XGVIEWS

Collections information

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