Circular Breathing

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by FreshmanTrumpeteer, Feb 14, 2008.

  1. FreshmanTrumpeteer

    FreshmanTrumpeteer New Friend

    Oct 24, 2007
    Does anyone here actually end up playing a song that requires circular breathing? I've tried and it confuses the heck out of me. Though your only doing like 3 things at once on and off, it feels like 10 for me :p I feel like i just want to give up on it lol
  2. lupin62

    lupin62 New Friend

    Oct 3, 2007
    La Crosse, WI
    There's a book on Jamey Aebersold's site. I've got it but I've been busy with other things for a while now. Spring break I'm going to try though. Stupid college with all it's demands.
  3. hornguy

    hornguy New Friend

    Dec 30, 2006
    It's not that tough to get the basics. Easiest way to learn is using water. You can practice in the shower (no horn needed).

    Fill your mouth with water with your cheeks puffed out. Hold the water in your mouth while breathing through your nose. This should be very easy.

    Then, while still breathing through your nose, slowly shoot a small stream of water out of your mouth.

    Once you have that down, stop using water and do the same thing with air (without the horn). You can do this all day long. Eventually, the process becomes unconscious.

    Then try it with the horn.

    Doing it smoothly, so you can't hear it in your tone is hard.
    Doing it while playing scales smoothly is real talent.
  4. Toobz

    Toobz Mezzo Piano User

    Feb 5, 2007
    Circular breathing, never tried it, don't care to. If I wanted to play a note continuously, I'll take up the bagpipes.
  5. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    this is something that is not on my list of absolute necessities. I also worked on it for a while and found it as difficult as triple tonguing. As I have NO real need for it, I just let go. Back then we did not have an internet and none of my trumpet teachers was interested in playing perpetuum mobile either or I may have researched it more.
    The bottom line is that IF you really want it, start slow and work your way up. It could take 6 months or a year. Just make sure that the necessities of life do not get neglected! The water trick sounds like an EXCELLENT visualization!!!!!
    If your college is stupid, what does that say about your personal decision process? I am still discovering things today that I learned back then and thought would NEVER be useful in my life. Give the present a chance to prove itself. Not everything in life leads to immediate satisfaction (nor should it)!!!!!!!
  6. mazzrick

    mazzrick Pianissimo User

    Sep 16, 2005
    Berlin, Germany
    I disagree with the statement that it's a useless tool. I use it all the time and even brass quintet music and orchestra music. I like the shower trick and I have another good one using water: use a straw in a half full glass of water. Blow through the straw so the water bubbles and try to keep the bubbles going. I think once you get it off the instrument, the best way to practice it is on the instrument is with scales. I don't think it's that hard to do while playing moving lines. I practice it (not very often, only when I need it) using any type of chromatic scales, whether it be clarke 1 or anything like that and just trying to keep it going as long as possible. Sure it's a bit of a circus trick, but it makes life easier very frequently.
  7. dlewis

    dlewis Piano User

    Nov 22, 2006
    Watch clips of Clark Terry play endless phrases while circular breathing and Mendez double tounging .
  8. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    NOBODY said that it was a useless tool! I personally (with 43 years of playing) just have never been even close to "needing" it in the orchestra, quintet, solo or as a lead player in a big band. It would not be my place or style to label it as "useless". I do stress the need for mastering the most important techniques. They should not suffer because of other optionals.

    FT was looking for people that do AND if you have repertory where it helps YOU, I think we would all be interested. If you use it "all the time", I would be interested in where - especially orchestral literature.
  9. Forte User

    Jan 27, 2008
    Brisbane, Australia
    My father-in-law had to learn it for the digeridoo. :) I sometimes wished I could do it on French horn, and I'm thinking it would probably easier for low brass. I wonder if flute players could do it, they need a ton of air and most of it doesn't even go through the instrument. I'm thinking because there is no back-pressure, they couldn't save up any air in their cheeks though.
  10. mazzrick

    mazzrick Pianissimo User

    Sep 16, 2005
    Berlin, Germany
    So as Robin said, it's not necessary. One could try and take more air and hold longer phrases, or simply breathe; but I can do it easily enough and without affecting the sound, so it's a comfortable way for me to connect phrases where I think I would only take a breath because I'm out of air, not because a pause-breath is actually needed. It's also easier for me to take a relaxed circular breath than to grab lots of little quick breaths between phrases. The places I use it are...

    - Pines of Rome offstage solo, between the two last phrases.
    - Don Juan lyrical excerpt
    - Parsifal overture solos (tempo depending)
    - Tannhauser overture low excerpt
    - Outdoor Overture after the descending scale in the lyrical excerpt
    - Mahler 3 6th mvmt chorale, esp. when not playing 1st
    - Pictures, Goldenberg and Schmuyle, the whole repeated C# bit
    - Ein Heldenleben, lyrical solo at the end of the battle in both Bb and Eb parts

    Obviously, the problem with circular breathing in an orchestra section when not playing a solo is that if one person can't circular breathe you're not going to match, so it's fairly limited in any type of section passage. In quintet settings, if both trumpeters can circular breathe well it can make certain passages very effective and impressive.

    I played a Stockhausen piece, Aires, where you have to circular breathe for about 3 minutes holding a middle A the whole time and the biggest problem was that nose breathing was too loud... so I kept saline solution backstage during the recital so my nose would be clear when I played it. Funny??

    Last edited: Feb 15, 2008

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