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I see on some violins there is something on the A and E strings between the tail peace and the bridge.

What is it called and what does it do?

Mystery object

I found a similar thing on the violins of the soloist in these videos. I don't know if these are different from the picture above:

(look at 4:20):

This one is only on the D string:

Here everybody has it on their instrument, violin, viola, cello (look at 7:59):

7

It's a damper, or mute, like this one here

When you wish to mute the sound of the instrument you slide it near to the bridge in order to dampen the bridge vibrations.

  • Is that the same as the sort of comb I used to use to put on the bridge? Maybe a modern version? – Tim Apr 18 '16 at 17:20
  • The purpose is the same, but with an alternative design. I don't play the violin myself but I have heard people complaining that this type of mute tends to ruin the strings. – José David Apr 18 '16 at 17:33
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    @Tim it's only the same in that they both mute the sound. The resulting timbre varies a lot depending on what kind of mute you use and what material (rubber vs wood) in the case of "comb" mutes. – Carl Witthoft Apr 18 '16 at 18:21

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