Muting strings with one hand

The palm of the hand can be used to mute the strings. The sound differs according to the position of the palm of the hand and the pressure it uses to mute the strings.


The palm of one hand presses the strings horizontally. The fingers of the other hand then play the strings.


When the fingers pluck muted strings close to the soundboard, the sound of the strings is generally more percussive. However, the resonance of the strings depends mostly on how firmly the palm presses the strings. The greater the pressure, the less pitch can be heard, and the sound becomes almost purely percussive. There is no great difference in sound between muting the strings in the middle of the string or close to the soundboard. The difference depends more on where the strings are plucked and on the distance between the muting hand and the plucking one. The longer the distance the greater the resonance.


The strings that should be muted are indicated with an open cluster sign. Verbal indications such as Press firmly or light pressure are recommended. The notes that are played are notated above or below the cluster sign.

Mute middle


The whole harp.