MUTAZ'ILITES (Ar. tetazilall, from 'a.zala, to separate). A Mohammedan sect founded by Vasil ibn Ata (c.745) and his disciple Abu al Hudhail al-Allaf (died c.S-15(. They had ra tionalistic tendencies, illustrated. e.g. by the teaching of Abu al-Hudhail, that man knows right and wrong by reason, independent of super natural revelation. Later teachers developed several subdivisions of the sect, See MOHAM MEDAN SECTS.
MUTE (from Lat. mutes, dumb; connected with Skt. miika, dumb). A small instrument used to modify the sound of any of the string instruments. It is made of hard wood, ivory. or brass, and is attached to the bridge by means of a slit, a leg of it being interjected between every two strings. The use of the mute both softens the tone and imparts to it a peculiar muffled and tremulous quality, which is some times very effective. It is much used in dra matic music to give color in dream-like or mystic stituations. Its application is indicated by the
letters e. s., or con sordini, and its diseontinu anee by s. s., or senza sog-dini. Mutes for brass instruments are wooden cones with a hole bored through them so as to allow the passage of the air. They are inserted into the bell of the instru ment. But, as their insertion affects the piteh of the instrument, these mutes must he used with the utmost care. Recently attempts ha ve been made to construct complicated mutes for brass instruments that shall not affect the pitch. In the ease of horns and trumpets the left hand is used as a mute. Mutes are also used for drums. On snare-drums a piece of cloth or felt is in serted on the lower side between the membrane and the snares. Kettle-drums are covered with a cloth or the membrane is lightly touebed with the left hand. On the piano the soft pedal is fre quently called mute.