Circular Breathing

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by jazz9, Jun 25, 2008.

  1. jazz9

    jazz9 Piano User

    Dec 5, 2007
    Chilhowie, VA
    Hello again everyone. I know I've been away for a while. Anyway, I would like to know how one would go about learning to circular breathe. I know it is a very advanced technique and probably takes years to master, but I don't even know where to start. Can anyone point me in the right direction?
  2. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    Fill your cheeks up with air and then try to play with that air. Then you practice inhaling through your nose while pressing the air out with your cheeks. once that works, you practice a smooth transition between cheek air and lung air. Then you are done, except for learning to play high, low, loud, soft, fast and slow (while circular breathing..........)!
  3. stchasking

    stchasking Forte User

    Jun 11, 2006
    There are several books available on this subject.
    The one I own is:

    Circular Breathing for the wind performer.
    by Trent R. Kynaston

    The publisher was:
    Studio P/R Inc
    224 S Lebanon St.
    Lebanon, Indiana 46052

    I still can't do it. The cheek puffing is really a challenge.
    I was watching Rick Steves travel show on PBS. He was touring Greece or Turkey. The background music he used was a type of drum and a "flute a phone" like instrument. The "flute a phone" player used circular breathing throughout the show and they showed him on camera twice. It was pretty cool to see him do it.
  4. hubnub

    hubnub Piano User

    May 4, 2007
    Cleveland, OH
    I tried to work on it for a bit.... then practicality won.....
  5. oldlou

    oldlou Forte User

    Aug 28, 2005
    Grand Rapids, Mi.
    Probably the best example of 'circular breathing' is Moto Perpetuoto by Raphael Mendez. This can be found on WWW.Trumpet 3/4 minutes of perpetual trumpeting with no perceptable breath.

  6. stchasking

    stchasking Forte User

    Jun 11, 2006
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2008
  7. CHAMP

    CHAMP Piano User

    Nov 16, 2005
    there might be a few things i'd work on before circular breathing...
  8. Bloomin Untidy Musician

    Bloomin Untidy Musician Piano User

    Jan 14, 2008
    My advice to you is to buy a didjeridoo and learn how to drone on one note. Rolf Harris, the second in line to Australia's King Kevin Wilson recommends filling your cheeks with water and squeezing the water out of your cheeks (creating a jet of water) whilst breathing in. This forces you to use your cheeks as an extra lung.
    You do need to be careful doing this as it has the potential to make you choke if done wrong. However when i was learning to do it for playing didj, i never had any problems that way.
    Another technique is to put a straw in a glass of water and constantly blow bubbles. The water gives you the necessary back pressure to so your cheeks have something to blow against. You can annoy your partner whilst watching labotmising soaps such as Neighbours, or Home and Away.

    There is a couple of important points to circular breathing:

    • It is bloomin difficult to do it when your lungs are have little air. Circular breathing for me is a topping up technique which helps keep the air moving in a relaxed way. Within didj playing the breathing is done in very rhythmical way to create different droning and sound effects.
    • Use your cheeks as an extra lung! They both gather air and compress it a little like your lungs.

    I suppose there is four key parts to circular breathing which need to blend seamlessly together

    1. Allowing your cheeks to fill with air whilst playing
    2. When the cheeks are filled stopping air being pushed from your lungs, and allowing the cheeks to seamlessly pump the air to your embouchure.
    3. When your cheeks are pumping the air to simultaneously breathe in.
    4. Finally to seamlessly bring lungs back into action again.
    I suppose to practise it you could

    1. Practise puffing your cheeks
    2. When your cheeks are filled, practise using them as an "extra lung", by creating a jet of air. Do not breathe out air using your lungs!
    3. Practise creating the jet of air whilst breathing in
    4. Practise creating the jet of air whilst breathing in and then releasing air from your lungs.
    If you are going to practise it on the trumpet pick an easy note with a little bit of back pressure. G on the stave is a good one. Low notes have less resistance so they will be more difficult for a beginner.

    As for doing a Mendez, i just do not know how he managed to do this and double tongue at the same time. On the Marsalis recording of Molto perpeteuo it is slurred. This is certainly more achievable. However for me, a trumpeter consigned to the realms of mediocrity, i find it bloomin useful for cheating on those extra long phrases, or when i misjudge my breathing and of course playin mi didj! As for molto perpetuo; in my dreams!

    Good luck, hope it is useful.
  9. brem

    brem Mezzo Forte User

    Sep 13, 2007
    Quebec City, QC, Canada
  10. jazz9

    jazz9 Piano User

    Dec 5, 2007
    Chilhowie, VA
    Alright, I appreciate it everyone. I'll definitely give it a try.

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