Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Mute Violin

Charles Francis Albert, Sr. (1842–1901)
ca. 1886
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
Maple, ebony, brass, various other materials
L. of body 35.7-35.9 cm (14-1/16 - 14-1/8 in); L. Overall 60.8 cm (23-15/16 in); Max. Width 19.2 cm (7-9/16 in) lower bouts
Credit Line:
Gift of Robert and Diane Moss, 1998
Accession Number:
Not on view
Mute violins have been used as practice instruments and for special acoustical effect since the seventeenth century. Leopold Mozart used the term "Brettgeige," or "board violin," to describe a mute violin consisting of a curved board without a soundbox. Patented in 1886, this unusually shaped mute violin has a body made entirely of maple, a wood that does not vibrate freely. The bridge height can be adjusted by two pegs located on either side of the body.
Marking: (labeled within and stamped above and below bridge) "C.F. Albert Philad'a" and "Albert Pat'd Feb. 9'86"
Robert Moss
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