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 '18 at 1:18
  • I've never heard of the buzz-wow. A kazoo mute sounds very interesting.
    – Spivonious
    Nov 16 '18 at 19:41

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 '18 at 19:40

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