Circular Breathing -is there a real use?

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Joe Piggs, Apr 5, 2015.

  1. Joe Piggs

    Joe Piggs New Friend

    Aug 17, 2012
    Bogota, Colombia
    Hi folks,

    Recently while surfing youtube I came across with a video of a fellow trumpeter called Trombone Shorty (really did not understand the name if he is a trumpet guy). The thing is he was doing a really long note with a technic I understand is called circular breath or circular breathing, which basically consists in breathing in and at the same time keep playing.

    Here is the link, check around 5:20-550

    Do any of you fellas know how to do it, and could you be willing to share your experience, is it useful? For what?


  2. dlewis

    dlewis Piano User

    Nov 22, 2006
    Trombone shorty's main instrument is trombone. You can find clips of him playing trombone with Wynton when he was 13 He is also a great trumpet player
  3. rettepnoj

    rettepnoj Fortissimo User

    Feb 22, 2009
  4. victorhaskins

    victorhaskins Pianissimo User

    Nov 27, 2012
    Circular breathing is useful, but more often than not, it's used for flash. It certainly isn't a necessary skill to be able to do 100% of anything you'd ACTUALLY need to be able to do on the trumpet, but there are some applications here or there. One is for pieces that are transcribed for trumpet from string repertoire (like Moto Perpetuo or Bach Cello Suites); another useful application is maybe if you have a phrase that you might want to play without breaking it for a breath so you can circular breathe in there to do that...but this is where circular breathing can get you in trouble because music, like any language that is spoken, needs to have breaths in order to have 'phrases'. I do it sometimes because, especially as an improviser in a 'jazz' setting, there is the occasional phrase that I am playing that I'd like to be a little longer and maybe I didn't budget enough air to make it to the end of the phrase with the kind of shape that I wanted, so circular breathing come into play there. And doing ImproviStory (which is another improvisation-based music) requires a lot of circular breathing for that whole concept to come off. Also, when I play with my chordless trio (cornet, bass, drums) I will comp for the bass player and drummer's solos, and circular breathing makes that a more seamless activity. But, as you can see from my examples, these are VERY specific situations that most people will not deal with almost ever, so the true value of circular breathing is relatively miniscule.

    I hope this helps.
  5. kingtrumpet

    kingtrumpet Utimate User

    Sep 20, 2009
    New York State USA
    I suppose -- the only reason I do "circular breathing" is because my good buddy GM (gmonady) explained how it was done ---- and I keep trying to do it, just so I can keep up with my friend -- although, I prefer to just suck in a whole amount of air and breath regularly ----- but yes, it is sometimes nice to have a new skill, though in my community band, I don't find much need for it.
  6. Joe Piggs

    Joe Piggs New Friend

    Aug 17, 2012
    Bogota, Colombia
    Dear @kingtrumpet and @victorhaskins, can you explain the basic technique?

    Do you know if there is a thread at TM abouy it?


  7. kingtrumpet

    kingtrumpet Utimate User

    Sep 20, 2009
    New York State USA
    I think it's talked about in threads on breathing -- but I don't know a specific thread ----- actually if you watch trombone shorty, he really emphasizes the process. let me try to explain it, you simply play your horn, and as you are using your abs, lungs to play as normal, and when you circular breath, you then use air in your cheeks/mouth ((like when trombone shorty is puffing out his cheeks)) -- so that air continues to propel your sound/air in your trumpet --- while you relax your body, and more air fills your lungs through your nose ---- which you then resupply/ push this air up to your cheeks using that again to keep playing the horn ---------------- and you more or less repeat this cycle ----------------------I'm NOT the best at it, I can do it for about 3-4 minutes before it all catches up to me, and I begin to start playing sucky notes, but that may be a lip endurance thing also
  8. Kujo20

    Kujo20 Forte User

    Sep 29, 2010
    It's a FANTASTIC party trick! It blows peoples minds whenever I do it.

    Serious answer: Like the comments above, it has it's place and uses here and there....but I wouldn't say it's a necessary skill at all.

  9. Dr.Mark

    Dr.Mark Mezzo Forte User

    Apr 5, 2011
    Hi Joe,
    For me there's a use. I use it when I screw up my breathing and begin to run out of air before the next breath mark.
    It's done just like it's done on a digerido. There are many youtubes that can tell and show you how. That will be a lot better than my puny words
  10. amzi

    amzi Forte User

    Feb 18, 2010
    Northern California
    Or, here's the real master--Rafael Mendez. While it is said that he could actually play this in one breath, it is my understanding that this recording used circular breathing.

Share This Page