Posted by Ian Mac on June 28, 2002 at 13:28:23:
In Reply to: Re: Circular Breathing posted by lungs-o-tar on June 28, 2002 at 11:42:15:
I've used circular beathing in many different applications on the tuba and didjeridoo (one of the recognized spellings) with great success. Granted I can't continue a note a fff in the low register, but I know some players who can. Ellis Ween (Montreal/Vancouver)for instance is a master at circular breathing, even in the low register. It sure helps in long extended passages that have no allowance for taking a breath. I also found it to be better suited to running passages rather than extended single notes. The real trick is to have the tone continuous upon the reintroduction of the airstream once the pocket of air in the mouth is depleted and to have the timbre remain constant as your embouchure changes. Another air pocket in your mouth that can be expanded is below the tongue. Using this pocket instead of the cheeks allows you to keep a more consistent tone. I saw this technique used by a flute player when I first started learning. You couldn't tell when he took a breath.
I like the idea of blowing through a straw in a glass of water. I have taught many students how to learn circular breathe this way.
In reference to the didjeridoo... to say that it has no back pressure is not correct. The airflow on that instrument is completely different than on the tuba, since you are varying the embouchure drastically to create tonal variation, changes the back pressure. Also there is a huge difference from one didj to another. I have 2 myself, one is about 36" long, one is about 48" long. Since the inside is hollowed out by termites there is no consistent path from playing end to the other end. Some didjes suck the air right out of you, some you asphyxiate because you can't release enough air, and others are somewhere in between.
Just my $0.02 Ian