Circular Breathing!

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by Vickitorious, Nov 27, 2003.

  1. Vickitorious

    Vickitorious Active Member

    Has there been a thread on this already? I don't know but feel free to lock it mods if there has!

    I would love to be able to circular breathe, thing is, I can't. I can do the thing where you puff out your cheeks, squeeze them and then at the same time breathe in through your nose and I can sort of do it in my instrument but I loose the shape of my embouchure and can't keep the air flow going, so that the note just finishes :( Can anyone give me any tips on how to circular breathe please?

  2. JessopSmythe

    JessopSmythe Active Member

    I think it helps if you can breathe through your ears (though that may be an anagram of the actual answer)

    In principle, circular breathing is easy. What you're doing is right but it takes a lot of practice to a)make your cheeks strong enough to support a note and b) get the breath in quick enough to keep a continuous sound. Long, boring practice is the only answer.
    I'm still working at it myself. I can just about do it on an "easy" instrument like the recorder but, like you, I loose the sound on a brass instrument.
  3. Emb_Enh

    Emb_Enh Member

    From BOOK 1 >>>>>

    Circular Breathing....

    Circular breathing is essentially, breathing out as normal, then, just before you run out of breath, store some air in your cheeks. Then use your cheeks to squeeze this air out of your mouth, while at the same time breathing in through your nose. You then have a fresh lungful of air to breathe out.

    So, how do I do it?

    Well, it takes practice. It helps if you start off with the basic principle of squeezing something out of your cheeks while breathing in through your nose, then build up from that. Here's somewhere to start.....

    1. The most difficult thing about circular breathing is the main concept - being able to breathe in through your nose while expelling air through you mouth. It creates mental confusion, like trying to rub your stomach while patting your head. The first step towards overcoming this is very simple; take a mouthful of water, and lean over the sink or a bucket. Open your mouth a little way, and let the water drain out slowly. While the water drains from your mouth, breathe in and out through your nose. Never use beer! ..t'would be a waste!

    2. Here's a small progression, but it can take a lot of effort. It is essentially the same as step one, except you now push the water out of your mouth, rather than just letting it drain out. To do this, you should use your cheeks and tongue - not air pressure from your lungs for a change! Once you've got used to pushing the water out, start breathing through your nose again. This is the basis of circular breathing. You now have to transfer this skill to pushing air, rather than water out of your mouth.

    3. You need to be able to see it visually sometimes, so, a good way to achieve this is to use a straw in a glass of water. Remember, you should only be using your cheeks and tongue to push the water out.

    4. After a little practice, you should breathe in through your nose at the same time as doing step three. Take as big a breath as you can, while still pushing air out from your cheeks.

    5. Now you have to put it all together, breathing out normally through your mouth, then just before the air runs out, storing some in your cheeks. You then do step four, taking as large a breath as you can. Then you can start breathing out normally again... you are now circular breathing. You should watch the bubbles in the water, and make the stream as constant as you can, especially when changing from lungs to cheeks: this will make a constant airflow in the instrument, giving a constant sound.

    ......And that's all there is to it :lol:

    The Glottis .......

    also...[book review]
  4. asteria

    asteria Member

    Steve Sykes is the master at this, saw him have a long note contest with someone who thought he must just have amazing lungs until he kept going past the 2 minute mark and she realised something wasn't quite right...

    Seen him give a masterclass on circular breathing where he had peoplle spitting water in a bucket as they breathed in. Needless to say it ended up with water all over the floor!! :D
  5. andyp

    andyp Active Member

    Wynton Marsalis does an amazing example on his cornet CD "Carnival", he plays Paganini's Moto Perpetuo, which lasts 5mins+, is semiquavers from one end to the other, no rests, no breaths. The music is 5 pages long and 2 of them are repeated! I'd love to be able to play it without breathing, but it's defeated me so far. And he goes slightly faster than I can!
  6. JessopSmythe

    JessopSmythe Active Member

    I once watched Herbie Flowers do it when he played as a guest artist with the college jazz band I used to play for. He stuck in about a minute and a half of lip slurs to a cadenza in tuba smarties. Promptly followed up by a performance of one of his original songs entitled "my mum's a yoghurt" :D
  7. Keppler

    Keppler Moderator Staff Member

    Wynton Marsalis's recording of Moto Perpetuto.
    3 mins 11 seconds or so of semiquaver triplets with one breath at the start, and one before the last note.

    I'm not into wigglies, but it's impressive.
  8. Di

    Di Active Member

    Definately not recommended during a course of hysterics!!! :D :lol:

    Help!!! Save my carpet, :shock: where's the bucket?
  9. Vickitorious

    Vickitorious Active Member

    Hehe I haven't got good aim and I'm too giggly. You shouldn't laugh should you then mum!?
    I'll keep practising. thanx for the help!
  10. Mike Saville

    Mike Saville Member

    mmmm . Good to be able to do I guess, but I only really use it for when I forget to take a real breath!
  11. Steve

    Steve Active Member

    I try and do the breathing bit really quickly, ie. quick sniff and blow the air out of the cheeks quickly rather than as one long slow process. Dont know if thats how you are meant to do it but it works for me. Just takes a while to get the 'lumps' out when doing it at speed.
  12. Emb_Enh

    Emb_Enh Member

    Rolf Harris actually taught me to circular breathe --what a nice bloke. He used to do this trick that wherever he was working he would memorise the staff names at the venue by standing them in a long line to recite their names. Then all week he would [everytime he saw them] for the first time that day would greet them with their correct name. The staff would sometimes number 80 or 90 people.
  13. Vickitorious

    Vickitorious Active Member

    Thanx for all of your help!
    I had a go at that water thing where your spit water out of your mouth while you breathe in! Which was actually quite funny! And I also tried the water and straw where you have to blow bubbles for as long as you can!
    But finally, I have mastered it!! Yay!
    I can't go on for 3 mins yet though lol :lol: , although I will keep practising!
    My record so far is a 1 min 4 secs! I will aim to beat that!

    Thanx again,

  14. Emb_Enh

    Emb_Enh Member

    My record so far is a 1 min 4 secs! I will aim to beat that!

    Well done Vicki! --merry xmas to ya!!
  15. asteria

    asteria Member

    I seem to remember someone (think it was Mr Sykes) saying eventually he got to the stage where he could squirt the water up his nose and back round again - great party trick that one!!
  16. Emb_Enh

    Emb_Enh Member

    he got to the stage where he could squirt the water up his nose and back round again

    One presumes a colour differential upon return? :?
  17. JonP

    JonP Member

    I found that the old stag night trick of shuvving a condom up your nose and then while holding onto the end coughing it out your mouth helped for circular breathing. Its a little harder with a gold chain, but much funnier after 16 pints. That is as long as you dont spew up the beer in the process. ( guilty im afraid. Sorry again Mic!)
    Not reccomended in a cadenza of a guest soloist spot though!!!

    (memoirs of Scott Quarmby's stag night 1999 with BnR lads in manchester!!)
  18. Emb_Enh

    Emb_Enh Member

    (memoirs of Scott Quarmby's stag night 1999 with BnR lads in manchester!!) --Jonathan Pippen.

    Hey Pip! --I remember it was all I could do to stop you from filling your face with pop+crisps before our lessons. I looked down your T-Bone one day to see what looked like 6 bags of 'chips' stuck down there! --You still played great though!--hehhe!!
  19. JonP

    JonP Member

    Thanks mate. Bone is still full or crisps, must have something to do with having my lessons in the most sensative years right after break time!!!!
    Have the advantage of a large bore bone now though so there is some space for the air to pass.

    All the best Rod, good memories!!

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