Bassoon Digital Professor





Circular Breathing



Several people have been interested in my

ability to circular breathe through their viewing of my video on YouTube in which I circular breathe in a performance of “Flight of the Bumblebee.”




At the time you are viewing this video you may not be able to see that (original)video.




Restrictions by the television station that recorded the concert will only allow me to leave it on the website until June 2007.

This video and the video following it will be dealing with two different aspects. This video is going to deal with the principles and mechanisms for circular breathing.





This is a picture of the air flow that is

normal for (playing) bassoon reeds.




So you have coming out of the lungs the air comes

up behind the tongue here into the oral chamber above the tongue and into the bassoon reed and on out. So that is the normal air flow we have for bassoonists.




Notice that the soft palate, this little muscle area is closed off.



If there is fatigue in the soft palate and there is air that escapes there will be a snorting sound or something for players.




Some players have a soft palate that doesn't close all the way or fatigues easily but in the normal air flow the air should go in this particular motion.



When we prepare to circular breathe or at

least when I prepare to circular breathe I inflate my cheeks.




Now Jane (Orzel) mentions in her article that she slides the back of the tongue forward and shortens the air chamber inside the mouth.




I haven't been as effective in doing that so I inflate the cheeks therefore creating a bigger cavity for the air to flow out of my mouth.




Once my cheeks are inflated the tongue is then raised in the back of my mouth to close off the passage. I have a reservoir of air right here in this part of the mouth that continues (the air) going forward.




Now when I circular breathe at the very same time I raise the tongue to the top of the soft palate here I also drop the soft palate at the back of my mouth to allow for the flow of air coming in through my nose, through the sinus passages.





Finally, once I have taken breath into the lungs, I quickly close the soft palate, drop the tongue, and re-engage the air coming out of the reed.




There are four different steps that need to be practiced.

So any musician who is learning to circular breathe will 1) need to be able to inflate and deflate the cheeks.





That is without changing your embouchure right here where it touches the reed or else you will be getting a sound deviation.




2) Close off the tongue.



3) Drop the soft palate to breathe in.



4) Then re-engage the normal breathing mechanism.



To view the next video in this series please visit God bless you, thank you very much.