The Rittich mute for French horn was originally design by Eugene Rittich, Principal Horn with the Toronto Symphony in the early 1970’s when Daryl was studying with him at the University of Toronto. The mute was known throughout the horn world for its tone, projection and tunability. In 2002, based on Daryl’s success with the design and manufacture of the Landwell Reed Knife, Rittich asked Daryl to take over the manufacturing of the mute. Daryl, being a design engineer, did a refresh of the manufacturing process for the mute to improve and preserve the characteristics of the original Rittich mute. The manufacturing process remains very much in the “made by hand” mode in order to ensure that the tone and projection of the original are retained.
As a design engineer with a focus on music instruments and music acoustics, Daryl is often asked to design solutions to problems experienced by professional players. Sometimes, it is the addition of an extension onto a key to make it easier to reach. It can be resizing tubing to accommodate a trumpet that has been changed from a Bb to a C trumpet or it can be creating an entirely new instrument to mimic the sound of large church bells.
The Landwell Reed Knife is known worldwide as one of the top scraping knives used by oboists and bassoonists to create the reed that makes the sound of the instrument. In the mid 1980’s, working with Jean Landa, principal oboe with the Calgary Philharmonic, Daryl designed a metallurgical process for making a very fine scraping edge that is both flexible and abrasion resistant.
Shortly after Daryl left the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra to pursue an engineering education, the orchestra moved to a newly designed performance space, The Jack Simpson Concert Hall. Daryl’s former colleagues in the horn section of the CPO were experiencing considerable difficulty with performing in the hall due to the lack of sound reflectors behind the orchestra. Daryl created a new type of sound reflector specifically for the horn section. The reflectors have been in place since 1992 and recently other musicians in the back of the orchestra have requested reflectors for their section as well. Daryl also designed a portable version of the reflectors for smaller, multi-purpose venues.
As a design engineer, Daryl was eager to explore the potential of 3D printing in the music world. With a small 3D printer and computer assisted design and drawing software, he has been able to create
– a new tuning device for a unique marimba developed by Dr. Rod Squance at the U of C Department of Music
-instrument parts that are no longer in production
-test versions of instrument parts to refine the dimensions before making the final piece from metal.