Swan Mutes is new venture set up in 2013 by EmmsIt Limited.
I (Mark Emms the MD of EmmsIt) am a very keen (though not very good) violist and the inspiration for Swan Mutes came from that passion. In early 2013 when I started to play in an orchestra for the first time I found that I needed a mute. I already had the old fashioned one that fits on top of the bridge like a clothes peg which had a good muting effect but I kept dropping it. So I ordered the most popular mute on the market which I found nice and easy to use but I didn’t have much of an effect and rattled when it wasn’t in place.
At about the same time I was talking to a very old friend in manufacturing about another project that he is very enthusiastic about (John Felton of JCF Engineering) which got me thinking. I had a chat with my viola teacher Helen Roberts (ex- City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra) who strongly recommended a mute to me which is no longer being made which was rather frustrating! The two conversations collided and Swan Mutes was born.
As luck would have it I have a son who is already experienced in 3-D modelling who implemented my first design. We had it manufactured, and we were immediately excited by how well it worked – the first prototype had a 20p piece super-glued onto it to act as the weight. Since then we have made a number of small changes to make the mute easier to put onto the instrument and to avoid the need for glueing on coins.