Breathing !?

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by SamHayday, Jul 31, 2007.

  1. SamHayday

    SamHayday Member


    I was recently told that to get loud and quiet, its not the amount of air that you put through, its the speed that you but it through. I.e. if you're playing in pianissimo, you would blow the same amount of air as you would in fortissimo, just slower.

    Can anyone make sense of this because I certainly can't?
  2. lynchie

    lynchie Active Member

    Interesting... I know that applies to range, ie. fast air for high notes, slow air for low, but not heard it applied to dynamics. All I'd say is that when playing quietly, you should maintain your abdominal support... It'll be interesting to see what other people say here.
  3. SamHayday

    SamHayday Member

    But I don't understand how you can push air more slowly without pushing less air.
  4. Brassb3ll3nd

    Brassb3ll3nd Member

    Exactly - if that's the case how come you can hold a note at pp far longer than you can a note at ff.?:confused:
  5. SamHayday

    SamHayday Member

    Well I suppose if you blow slower you go through less air and so you can last longer.
  6. Bass Trumpet

    Bass Trumpet Active Member

    All a question of interpretation. I usually use the following analogy when I'm teaching;

    If you turn the tap on full, the water comes out quickly. If you turn the tap on half-way, the water comes out slowly. The pipe doesn't get any bigger or smaller.

    When we play loudly, we are simply moving the same amount of air more quickly through the tubes of our instrument. The idea that we blow harder to play high, doesn't hold much water. We are simply blowing against the increased resistance of our decreased embouchure size. The resistance in the instrument, however, remains constant. That is why it is easier to play a long high note than a long low note; low notes require an open, relaxed embouchure with less resistance.

    Whether you consider you are blowing harder, or quicker, it really amounts to the same thing. In my experience, both as a teacher and professional player, people tend to get confused by differing interpretations of what is, in effect, fairly simple physics. I might explain it one way, another teacher may explain it another.

    PM me if you are not sure what I mean.
  7. tpcornet12

    tpcornet12 Member

  8. Hornblower RN

    Hornblower RN Member

    Mmmm.....can't recall any of these questions/problems coming up fifty years ago! What's changed?:-?
  9. I'm no expert of playing nor the theory behind it etc. I specialise in the couple of lagers after practice. But where allot of players go wrong is that when playing quietly they don't push enough air through the instrument and their sounds gets very throaty and thin.
    By telling you to push the same amount of air through the instrument is correct as you will always fill the tube and maintian a warm round sound.

    You will also need to maintain the diaphragm support else the notes wont speak properly.

    Still fill your lungs up before playing but by not passing the air through so quick you will be able to go longer before you need another breath.

    At the start of our band practices at the moment we are spending alot of time on hymn tunes in order to improve the dynamic range and quality of sound at each dynamic.
    I play a game with the young lad next to me in that we have to do every tune in one breath, I invented this game in order to encourage him to take on more air as he tended to snatch a breath before playing hence having to take more breaths and not produce a full sound.

    So back to the original question.. yes it makes sense to me as I've been told it by past teachers.
  10. davidquinlan

    davidquinlan Member

    Get yourself a copy of Claude Gordons, Brass Playing is no harder than deep breathing...

    Well worth the £10 or so it may cost you...

    Should answer your questions.
  11. Bass Trumpet

    Bass Trumpet Active Member

    Exactly. Can't see why you're confused, it's pretty simple when you think about it.
  12. dyl

    dyl Active Member

    The fact that it's easier nowadays, through a variety of options, to actually ask these questions? Just you didn't hear these questions getting asked fifty years ago doesn't mean they weren't asked.
  13. KnightTemplar

    KnightTemplar New Member

    Good book on this John Ridgeon "Physiology of Brass Playing". Available from Brass Wind Educational, Oakham, Leicestershire.
  14. Craigyboy

    Craigyboy New Member

    Does anyone know where to get this book? I had a look around a while back but I could only find it on the Claude Gordon site in America.
  15. Thirteen Ball

    Thirteen Ball Active Member

    I never understood the 'same air but slower' thing either. Never made sense to me, because surely the same air slower means less air per unit of time!

    I thought it meant to keep your embouchoure open, your throat open, and support the air you are using... just as you would if playing loud. In other words, don't start blowing from your throat just because you're playing quietly.

    Funny thing is, even now doing that more than I used to, i've been told I 'don't use enough air' when playing, however i've no idea how to 'use more air' without making the note louder.

    It's one of those things I've never had explained in a way that makes any logical sense whatsoever.

    The tap analogy's a bit closer I suppose, but it still has less water coming though the tube, and less pressure, so how can that be the same amount?

    Number 13 - Confuzzled.
  16. davidquinlan

    davidquinlan Member

    I'm pretty sure I got mine from June Emerson Wind Music..
  17. SamHayday

    SamHayday Member

    Lol So i'm not the only one :D

  18. You rememer that set of bellows in the back room Andi ...........

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