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Our story

Trying a 19th century horn mute was a revelation to me. The real musical interest of concert mutes, and the reason why composers have been requesting their use in certain parts of their works since the 17th century, became suddenly evident.

 

In fact, the old rigid mutes made of wood, silver or horn allow the timbre of the instrument to be modified by giving the impression of a distant and muffled tone. But neither do they reduce its projection range nor deplete its richness in harmonics, simply distributing them differently in the sound spectrum, because they just add weight to the bridge without absorbing its vibrations.

 

After the Second World War, with the advent of industrial plastics and rubbers, models with much more practical (but not musical) qualities were introduced on the market, and most musicians adopted them (mainly because of the need for reliable and easy-to-use equipment in the performance of certain pieces, made sometimes quite difficult by the intermittent use of the mute in very fast-paced segments).

 

The new mutes quickly superseded the older models, without the musicians paying enough attention to the great musical loss that this change implied. The result is that nowadays, many musicians are reluctant to use mutes, or even ignore the composer's instructions, because the muted string instruments are not heard any more next to the winds, percussion or even the piano, or because the muted tone has become dull and kills the expressiveness. An obvious example of this is found in the works by Tchaikovsky (second movement of the Violin Concerto, violin and cello solos in Swan Lake, among others: no one plays these passages with a mute anymore, even though its use is very clearly requested).

 

After having tried for some time to use old mutes in the conditions of orchestral everyday work, and forced to admit the practical impossibility to use them without jeopardizing the quality of the performance in certain works of the great repertoire (works by Stravinsky, Mahler, Richard Strauss and many others), we therefore had the idea of developing a new model combining the musical richness of horn mutes and the practicality of modern rubber mutes, without either’s shortfalls.

 

And so Eenhar® was born. The first prototype proved to be so convincing, beyond all expectations, that I thought important to make this invention available for everyone. I was confirmed in this idea by numerous instrumentalists, whether they are orchestra players (some of them from the most prestigious orchestras), chamber musicians or soloists.

 

It was then necessary to design and develop a production method that was both economically sustainable and artisanal, taking up five years of research and development. Today, we can offer a mute that meets all modern requirements, but which could have been produced identically two or three centuries ago, with the means and technology of the time.

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Ovale modele NV photo JE.png

The very first prototype

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