Practice Methods For Circular Breathing


唐英伟博士 (Terry B. Ewell). 由翻译 朱潇潇


Pick a stable note that does not use a lot of air: a note that you can play a long time on. I find the C#4 (full fingering) the D4, F4 to be useful and stable for this.


We are going to do this with the four steps. I will demonstrate from the front and side views. The first step you need to do (on your stable note) is to inflate and deflate your cheeks. The air supply will be going from your lungs but you inflate and deflate.


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The reason for doing that is you are trying to keep the front portion of your embouchure, your lips, from moving. This is not all that easy to do. Once you master that step--the inflation and deflation of the cheeks--the second step is then to end the note with the reservoir of air you have in your cheeks. You are going to stop blowing with your lungs. 

這樣做的原因是,防止你的吹口的前方,你的嘴唇在移動中。這不是那么容易做到的。一旦你掌握了這一步 – 鼓起和放鬆臉頰 - 然後第二步是用你臉頰裏的保存氣来结束这个音。你要停止用肺去吹氣。

You raise your tongue in the back of your mouth to create that reservoir of air. You then I push out the air with your cheeks while trying to keep the pitch the same [without deviation].


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It works for only a little time. I will do it again.


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That time the pitch raised up a bit. I have to learn how to keep the pitch constant. It is a matter of practice.


This third step in this sequence is to inflate your cheeks blow out the air with your cheek muscles while breathing in at the same time. We discussed the first video you actually have to allow breath to come in by lowering the soft palate. You probably are not aware of the movement of the part of your body.



It is a strange sensation to have the tongue cutting off the air supply blowing out with your cheeks and then air coming in.



I don't know if you could hear, but I breathed in through my nose. I will try it again for you.


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Then the fourth step is then to re-engage the air before the cheeks have fully deflated.

You have to work to master these four steps.



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You can probably hear that there is a point of re-engagement. This is a hiccup when the air [from the lungs] comes in.

I am a bit out of practice with circular breathing, but as you practice more you can even it out, but that there is still going to be that little bit of hiccup in the air.



Part of the issue is how to hide that re-engagement of the air from the lungs. If there are moving notes or trills the ear doesn't notice the hiccup.

For instance, if I do a C#-D#4 trill, I think you will scarcely hear it.


例如,如果我吹一個 C#- D#4 的連音,我想你會很少聽到打嗝。

<C#-D#4 trill>

I will try other notes.


<moving notes hiding circular breathing>



It sounds very fluid with moving notes.

You will find it is easier to circular breathe in the upper register of the bassoon. There is more resistance to the notes; you use less air.


你會發現在大管的高音區更容易做循環呼吸。吹奏音符有更多的阻力; 你只需要較少的空氣就可完成。


With more air pressure you use less air. It is harder to circular breathe in the lower registers. That's unfortunate since it is in those we wish we could use it. If you play a low C you run out of air very quickly. But it is difficult to circular breathe on the bassoon in that register.



Here's a side view of me doing the process.


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Well, one passage I want to bring to your attention is found in Beethoven's Sixth Symphony. This is the Andante molto movement, the brook scene, between letters A and B. You will find this around measure 30 in that movement.


It is a lovely solo played in the orchestra with the strings, but there is no place for the bassoonist to breathe.



So I breathed there twice on those A naturals. Here is the music.