When the part calls for stopped horn, horn players have a decision to make. Obviously, you can stop the horn with your hand. It’s always there when you need it and you never embarrass yourself by dropping it on the floor. There are some problems, though. You have to play everything on the F horn (stopping raises the pitch 1/2 step on the F horn and 3/4 steps on the Bb) and it’s very hard to get any volume in the lower register. And some players’ hands just don’t work well for stopping. So, a good stopping mute can be a great addition to your arsenal.
One of the best stopping mutes we’ve come across is the Powerstopf. Made in the Netherlands, the Powerstopf has several features that make it stand out. The wooden cone takes a lot of edge out of the sound and makes it sound much more like true hand stopping. The rubber seal helps the mute stay put and does a good job of sealing the bell. Maybe the biggest advantage is that it works on the Bb horn so it’s much more secure.
Here’s a Youtube clip of Richard Burdick demonstrating the Powerstopf:
We’ve got Powerstopfs in stock so please check them out at osmun.com