A recently released video of Ray Chen playing Clair de Lune shows what appears to be a strange flat object on the violin bridge.

I thought originally that it was maybe part of the tailpiece or chinrest, however when he moves around, it does look like it's part of the bridge.

My thoughts are:

  • Some form of microphone? (Microphones typically go near, or under the bridge, unless this is a type I am unfamiliar with)
  • A strange mute? (Normally a concert mute is a small round rubber object that is on the middle two strings, and why would he use a mute for a piano duet?)

Here is a screenshot of the video:

Ray Chen playing Clair de Lune

2 Answers 2


It's actually an American one-dollar bill bill, folded and rolled up which he uses as a mute. Asked him post-concert after the recital the screenshot is from. He also revealed this in a post on his Instagram.

  • Amazing, thanks! Could you link the Instagram post too? Commented Nov 27, 2019 at 17:48

I'm pretty sure it's a mute. Violin mutes come in various forms as well as the 'quick access' type favoured by orchestral players. This is the classic type (though not the type we see in the video).

enter image description here

You can play a violin (or a brass instrument) very quietly without a mute. Or quite loud with one. The mute is about getting a DIFFERENT sound, not primarily a quieter one. The recording sounds like he's using a mute.

  • It's a very odd-looking one if so Commented Nov 16, 2019 at 14:02
  • 1
    If it is a mute, it's cetainly different from any I've seen, and doesn't sound like the one you pictured is being used.
    – Tim
    Commented Nov 16, 2019 at 15:59
  • @Tim - This answer (at least right now) explicitly says that the pictured mute is not the one being used.
    – Dekkadeci
    Commented Nov 17, 2019 at 13:54
  • @Laurence not sure if you've seen the lastest answer - you may be interested! Commented Nov 27, 2019 at 19:30
  • 1
    Yeah. What a cheapskate. He could at least have used a five!
    – Laurence
    Commented Nov 28, 2019 at 19:24

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