Violin is not the quietest instrument to learn, and mastering the violin takes time, repetition and practice. This can cause limitations if you live with other people or have nearby neighbours. But don't worry; we've compiled some of the top ways to make your violin sound quieter to help you practice without disturbing those around you.
There are several things that you can do to make a violin quieter. You can use a mute to reduce the volume of string resonance. Or, consider plugging the f-holes to lessen the body resonance. Additionally, you can buy violins crafted to be quieter such as electric or silent violins.
Here are 5 methods to make your violin quieter:
- Use A Mute
- Cover Or Plug The F-Holes
- Put Clips On The Sides Of The Bridge
- Use An Electric Or Silent Violin
- Soundproof The Room
In this article, we'll discuss each of these methods in greater detail to make your violin quieter:
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1. Use A Mute
Using a mute is a great and affordable way to make a violin sound softer and less loud. Mutes are attached to the violin's bridge and help reduce the amount of string resonance and amplification produced.
There are several types of violin mutes on the market. They range in size, materials and type of use. The main two are standard mutes and practice mutes.
Standard Mutes (also know as orchestra or concert mutes)
Standard mutes (link to check the price on Amazon) are often called orchestra or concert mutes, as any violist that plays in an ensemble or orchestra will need one. Rather than quiet the violin, standard mutes create a mellow, smoother sound, which is sometimes called for in orchestra pieces.
These types of mutes tend to be smaller in size than practice mutes and are clipped to only a few strings in between the bridge and tailpiece. While they can play a role in sound dampening, they are mainly used to alter the tone of the violin.
Practice mutes are the better option if you are looking to rehearse at home without disturbing your housemates or neighbours. Their purpose is to dampen sound while practicing, whereas standard mutes are better suited for performances.
This type of mute is much larger and is placed directly onto all four strings and the entire bridge, providing a greater reduction in volume. Practice mutes are made in various materials such as rubber, ebony, or metal (link to view the prices on Amazon), with the most common type being rubber.
2. Cover Or Plug The F-Holes
Violins have f-holes to allow resonating sounds to escape from the violin. These affect not only sound volume but also the overall tone of a violin. Hence, plugging the f-holes will have some effect on the loudness of a violin.
To do this, use a soft cotton cloth and gently plug the f-holes. We do not recommend using tape to cover them as this could lead to damage to the varnish.
Note that though this will dampen body resonance, it can also alter the tone and will not stop string resonance, so the violin will not be silent. However, it will noticeably reduce the volume of sound produced.
3. Put Clips On The Sides Of The Bridge
A quick and affordable way to dampen the sound of your violin is by placing binder clips (link to check the price on Amazon) on either side of the bridge. When placing the clips, it is important to be careful not to scratch the body of the violin or get the strings, which could prevent them from vibrating.
Using clips works by limiting the amount of sound vibration that travels from the strings to the body of the violin through the bridge. While this method does not work as well as a mute, it does cause a noticeable enough change in the volume and works great for those who do not have access to a mute.
4. Use An Electric Or Silent Violin
If you are looking for a practically silent violin, then an electric or silent violin would be your best bet. To hear either of these styles of violins, you will need an external device such as an amplifier, speakers or headphones (for select silent models). The reason being is that neither electric nor silent violins have a soundbox. Therefore, they are unable to produce sound like a standard acoustic violin.
Although electric and silent violins look similar, there is one significant difference. Electric violins require an electrical signal in order to produce sound. In order to play, you will need to plug it into either an amplifier or speaker. They are not compatible with headphones. These are great for practicing and performing as you can control the volume of sound via the external device.
On the other hand, silent violins are the best option for practicing quietly at home as they have a headphone feature built-in. This feature allows you to practice wherever, whenever, without disturbing anyone in your household. Silent violins can also be plugged into an amplifier or speaker. The Vangoa Silent Violin (link to check the price on Amazon) is a superb beginner silent violin that includes headphones and everything else you will need to get playing.
5. Soundproof The Room
While soundproofing the room may not make a violin quieter, it will help to reduce the noise in your home and allow you to practice at all hours without bothering your other housemates.
Generally speaking, the more objects in a room, the more sound is absorbed. An affordable method to soundproof a room is to add furniture items that will help absorb sound. For example, consider changing your regular curtains with either thick or soundproofing curtains such as these Nicetown curtains (link to view the price on Amazon) that help reduce noise by absorbing sound.
Other options include adding rugs, sofas or professional acoustic panels.
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Actual soundproofing can be more challenging. Although not a cheap solution, you can hire a professional to help convert a designated room into a fully soundproof room.
Related article: Top 8 Methods To Make A Piano Quieter