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Muted Violin English

Muted Viol English (Primary)

Muted Viole English?

Viole Conique French

Viole Sourdine French

Viole à Sourdine French

Violino Sordo Italian


The Muted Viol was originally developed by J. W. Whiteley for Hope-Jones as a variant of Thynne's Viole Sourdine. It had very small scale conical pipes, as little as 1 1/4" at the mouth and 5/8" at the top for 8' CC, with a 1/6 mouth and harmonic bridges. Wedgwood provides the illustration reproduced here, and reports that the Muted Viol �had its origin in an attempt to suppress a slight �spit� often attendant on the speech of Viols of very small scale�. Audsley specifies a scale at CC of 1.53" at the mouth and 0.51" at the top, with a scaling ratio of 1:2. Wedgwood describes its tone as �one of the most beautiful tones conceivable ... deliciously stringy, without evincing the least trace of roughness or horny quality�. Irwin describes it as silvery, clean-toned and luminous. Strony describes the Muted Violins of the theatre organ as an uncommon two-rank celeste with a soft, delicate, bright tone, with those made by Kimball being the most famous. Most sources consider the Viole Sourdine and Muted Viol to be synonymous, though Thynne's Viole Sourdine was cylindrical, not conical. Maclean characterizes the Muted Viol as an echo form of the Spitz Gamba.



Osiris contains six examples of Muted Viol, five examples of Viole Sourdine, three each of Muted Violin and Muted Viole, and two of Viole Conique. No examples of Violino Sordo or Viole à Sourdine are known; the latter name is mentioned only by Audsley. Contributions welcome.

Viole Conique 8', Unenclosed Positiv; St. Thomas, New York City, New York, USA; Aeolian Skinner 1956. Viole Conique 8', Swell; St. Paul Lutheran Church, Decatur, Illinois, USA; Berghaus 1991. Muted Violin 16', 8', 4', Echo; Kimball Hall, Chicago, Illinois, USA; Kimball 1925.
Muted Violin 8', Echo; First United Methodist Church, Cortland, New York, USA; Moller 1921. Muted Violins 8', String Organ; John Wanamaker Store, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA. This division contains eighteen Muted Violin ranks, six each at normal, sharp celeste and flat celeste pitches. Muted Viol 8', Swell; Portland City Hall, Portland, Maine, USA; Austin 1912.
Muted Viol 8', Great, Swell; Chase Residence, Providence, Rhode Island, USA; Estey 1917 (destroyed). Muted Viole 8', Swell; Chapel, Bowdoin College, Brunswick, Maine, USA; Austin 1927. Muted Viole 8', Orchestral; Woolsey Hall, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut, USA; Steere 1915.
This page was last last built on June 24, 2020
Original site compiled by Edward L. Stauff. For educational use only.