Circular breathing. Help!

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by flugel_fancy, Jun 25, 2006.

  1. flugel_fancy

    flugel_fancy Member

    Hi guys we've been doing a lot of breathing excersises at rehearsal lately and one is playing a hymn and going as far as you can without taking a new breath. I find this quite difficult and in conversation circular breathing came up. I've tried this a few times but only with great failure :redface:
    3 questions really:

    1. Is it something that can be perfected with practice like tripple tongueing or is it like rolling your tongue where you can either do it or you can't?

    2. If it can be perfected with practice how on earth do you do it??!

    3. Someone mentioned in rehearsal that circular breathing could do some very minor damage to your resparatory system over a long period of time. Is this true?

    Any advice welcome :tongue:
  2. Di

    Di Active Member

    Yes, it can be achieved with practice.

    There's some tips here which might help. :)
  3. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

    :redface: ... really? (mind you, I haven't tried much since then!)
  4. flugel_fancy

    flugel_fancy Member

    Ah that explains a lot! Well Ive got a straw and a glass of water so here goes.... I feel 10 again

    Thanks a mil Di
  5. Di

    Di Active Member

    Hehe, don't make a mess now eh? ;)
  6. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

    - I opted for a straw and something a little stronger after my last efforts ... and I wasn't blowing bubbles with the straw :)
  7. geordiecolin

    geordiecolin Active Member

    Straw and water does work.

    I found it was something that despite practicing I could never do and then suddenly POW! I could do it. It just clicks there is no slow obvious progressive improvement so don't be disheartened.

    Interestingly I can circular breath til the cows come home on my digeridoo but haven't quite perfected it on bass - I find it become difficult to stop the note wavering, this doesn't matter on the didge where the varying note is desired but it sounds awful on bass!!
  8. b ross

    b ross Member

    I can relate to this very much. Not a problem on the didge but on the bone not so easy. I do know a guy that played the long slow Flug tune in Land of the Long White Cloud wonderfully AND without a gap though so it is more than possible!

    I think its a case of practice makes perfect. I used to practice it for an hour each day on my train journey to college (not with the glass and straw, I may have got locked up:eek: )
  9. DublinBass

    DublinBass Supporting Member

    I have a simliar problem. I can keep the air flowing, but can't get a decent sound on a horn as I tend to lose my buzz (even though the air still flows). Any suggestions for that final step? I've wondered if it would be easier first practising on a cornet because of the tighter buzz before jumping back to a large mouthpiece (like tuba).
  10. flugel_fancy

    flugel_fancy Member

    Afraid after 3 terribly chewed up straws and 2 glasses of water it soon became clear that trying to do this whilst having a laptop on my lap was not the best of ideas. So got rid of the straw and took your advice and did some circular drinking practice instead ---> well they do say a change is a good as a rest!

    Although am suffering this morning :hammer

    Back to the straws I guess.
  11. starperformer

    starperformer Member

    of course, circular breathing is a cool skill to have but haven't you missed the point of this exercise somewhat if you are having to resort to it?
    if you weren't finding the exercise hard it wouldn't be doing you any good. no pain, no gain, etc.
    not to mention that circular breathing is far easier if you have good breath capacity and control anyway
  12. flugel_fancy

    flugel_fancy Member

    :eek: The point of the excercise was not missed as I can see how it will greatly improve my skills as regards to breathing and I hadn't said I was resorting to this particualr skill I was simply making an enquiry as a to how one would go about it and also whether the person I was in converstion with was correct in saying that it can do some minor damage to the resparitory system iver a long period of time :redface:
  13. animal77

    animal77 New Member

    I doubt circular breathing could damage your respiratory tract as you still breath as normal, you just blow out with cheeks at the same time.
    I agree with the posts above though, that it is no substitute for developing a good lung capacity and proper breath control. I only use it as a last resort (it is a cool trick to be able to do though!). You might find it easier to do if playing a higher note as less air support is needed - I find it noticeably harder to do on any note lower than G. Wierdly, for ages i could only ever circular breath when playing the note that was the same pitch as my didge.
    Hope all is cool in Killamarsh - I played for them last year.
  14. flugel_fancy

    flugel_fancy Member

    Am i the only one here that doesn't own a didge ?? :D

    Maybe that's where I'm going wrong :redface:
  15. geordiecolin

    geordiecolin Active Member

    Doo it doo it!! Buy a didge

    Get it?!


    PS I too am a good friend of the band of Marshy Killas.
  16. b ross

    b ross Member

    You don't own a didge???? Shock:eek:

    Get one and get a good didge tutor book, you'll be making Kukaburra noises in no time!
  17. bassmittens

    bassmittens Member


    I found it easiest to start the excercise on a middle G on the bass (i just found this note easiest - although some say an A is the easiest note to sound on a Eb)-once i had it sounding okay on that note i started to move it up and down. Still find it nigh on impossible outside the middle registar though:confused:

    I tend not to use it where possible, because i think if i over use it i will develop a laziness (much like over using double tounging where it is not neccessary- sorry don't want to start a controversial debate just a comparison!!). There's nothing better than chucking your lungs down your insturment for 12 bars of fff and feeling dizzy!!:tup

    I do find i get out of practise from circular breathing really easilly if i don't use it for a week or 2 - anyone else find this???
  18. flugel_fancy

    flugel_fancy Member

    Right thats it Im of to didge town to get me a new doo :p
  19. persins

    persins Member


    I've got a didge but cannot circular breathe either!! Might have a look at the tips provided by Di!
  20. Will the Sec

    Will the Sec Active Member

    True. If you are proficient at santching a breath in the correct place (not always the logical place) then the need for cricular breathing is diminished somewhat. Same with souble tounging - if can single tongue efficiently, you won't often need to double tongue.

    This was the same for me, but I have noticed of late that I can now circular breath on written Middle C down to G on my Bb Bass. Not something I've really practiced, but very useful, esepcially in loud long passages, like the Mastersingers, which we crashed through tonight.

    PS - never used a straw - saw James Galway talking about it on "How do they do that?" with Des Lynam and Jenny Hull, and once I understood the theory, worked on the technique.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 29, 2006

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