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What’s this?

Posted: Thu Nov 15, 2018 10:30 am
by velocio
By good fortune, I got hold of a Johann Haslwanter (1824-1884) zither, yesterday. It’s in need of serious restoration, of course, but I believe it’s worth the effort and I plan to report on the progress.
Meanwhile, I would like to know what this piece I found in the case (see attachment) is all about:

Re: What’s this?

Posted: Thu Nov 15, 2018 10:41 am
by NutmegCT
That's a mute (sordino) for stringed instruments, most likely violin or viola. It's usually ebony, and slides down onto the bridge under the strings, to "dampen" the bridge from vibrating. It cuts down on the vibrations hitting the sound box (the body), so the instrument emits less sound.

Image

The old style is ebony; newer mutes are often made of rubber or steel with plastic bushings.

Tom M.