In my 25 years of playing, I've never heard of a "red mute". Any ideas? My bandleader said it meant a cup, but later in the song, it had us use plungers while still muted (the notation was pretty explicit), so I don't think cup is the right choice.

The arrangement was from 1942 if that helps.

  • 1
    The buzz-wow was popular back in the day... it had vent holes at the front of a cup mute to which one could attach buzzing paper etc. a plunger in front of that might be what is being called for. Nov 15, 2018 at 1:18
  • I've never heard of the buzz-wow. A kazoo mute sounds very interesting.
    – Spivonious
    Nov 16, 2018 at 19:41
  • I've seen references to a Wallace red mute — but their trumpet mutes are blue (horns and euphoniums are red) — and a Montreal red mute, but can't find actual evidence of either one. In both cases, however, they are straight mutes. So I'd put my money on straight. What's the tune? Maybe there's a recording that would give a hint.
    – Aaron
    Jan 12, 2022 at 7:17

1 Answer 1


I found a few candidates on the Intarwebzz.
Here's one possible plunger-ish item, enter image description here

Overall, though, I suspect this was a Murphy-specific nickname for some mute. It is possible that the intent (based on some alleged history I found somewhere) that the players were playing into such a mute mounted on their stands, and thus adding a plunger mute to the horn itself would allow you to play with both mutes at once.

  • I think using "hat" or "derby" was very standard by the early '40s. Also, adding a plunger to a hat seems very odd to me.
    – Spivonious
    Nov 16, 2018 at 19:40

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