Breathing in Bach's Jesu, Joy of ...

Discussion in 'Orchestra / Solo / Chamber Music' started by gzent, Mar 10, 2005.

  1. gzent

    gzent Fortissimo User

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    Manny,

    The long phrase is 13 1/3 measures long and there's no nice spot to breath.
    So...where do you, or do you at all?

    Greg
     
  2. Manny Laureano

    Manny Laureano Utimate User

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    Gzent,

    Yer gonna hate this, buddy...

    I circular breathe during that phrase. I once performed it with Erich Kuenzel as a solo with the orchestra and couldn't find a good, musical place to breathe. So, I circular breathed and after it was done Kuenzel had me demonstrate and put a microphone under my nose so the audience could hear what I was doing. They went nuts!

    ML
     
  3. gzent

    gzent Fortissimo User

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    Alrighty then, one more thing I can't do! Argh! :x

    Seriously, though, how does one learn how to circular breath?

    Greg
     
  4. Manny Laureano

    Manny Laureano Utimate User

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    Greg,

    It's a fun thing that a bunch of us learned to do in High School. It has to do with filling up your cheeks with the air that was in your lungs. As the cheek muscles take over for the abdominal muscles and push the air out, you sniff in through your nose! The trick is connecting the end of the cheek-pushed air and the newly nostril-inhaled air.

    It's just a parlor trick and not something I use with any frequency as it's not a great sound when the connection between the two air supplies occurs. I have ussed it but when I know it's going to be mostly hidden by the orchestral texture. Could it be developed to a more expert point? Yes, but why bother? As I say, it's just a fun thing to amaze your friends.

    ML
     
  5. Robert Rowe

    Robert Rowe Mezzo Piano User

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    I was at a performance by Kenny "G" (Gorelik, the soprano-sax dude), where he strolled around the audience whilst holding a note for about 3-minutes. A definite "crowd-pleaser"!
    I don't play Bach, hardly ever ... but that is a tough phrase to "nail".
    I have the same problem (trying to catch a breath) on the "Carnival of Venice" chromatic descending and accending run.
    ML -- how can I control my lung-capacity to do long lines like this; or is "circular breathing" the only answer ? (Herbert L. Clarke is no longer around to comment).

    Regards,
    Robert Rowe
     
  6. Manny Laureano

    Manny Laureano Utimate User

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    Obert,

    As I said earlier, circular breathing is just a stunt or to be kept in the vest pocket for emergencies. Even at that, you have to be so experienced doing it that you can just pull it out of a hat when needed.

    The only answer is practice of hauling in all the air necessary to play (which is everytime, not just once in a while). Charlie Schlueter's exercise of taking a big breath and then sipping until you are bursting while staying relaxed, serves to illustrate how much you , personally, can hold. Most people are astonished to see and feel how much more volume they can hold than previously thought. I don't advocate to breathe and sip all the time. I merely bring it up to help remind us how much we can take or at least, try to get close to.

    Here's an example: Last night I didn't bring my inhaler of albuterol and was feeling a bit tight. I engaged in some of this deep breathing in and out until my intercostal muscles had loosened up enough for me to take a fuller breath. It took a few minutes but it helped tremendously. I relaxed and was breathing to near capacity, about 4.25 litres for me, 4.5 on a really good day.

    I read often, with great amusement, people posting in other sites about using their diaphragms to play or specifically blow out. This is nonsense and has been perpetuated by individual sensation and ill-informed teaching. The diaphragm is activated for the air intake and can only relax during the exhale. people are mistakenly referring to the abdominal muscles that engage for exhalation. They're the same one's that activate when you cough or sneeze, for example.

    Anyways, the short answer is to breathe deeply and get rid of it allwhile allowing your body to work naturally with little tension.

    ML
     

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