How many measures on a tank of air?



  • As my beginner book progresses, the training wheels are just about off. That means the "breath marks" are no longer indicated. Is it more of a phrasing thing?



  • Yup. You got it.



  • Thanks Richard. My next lesson involves a duet with my teacher and I just want to play it as efficiently as possible.



  • @Doodlin I still mark my parts with BREATH Marks - especially where some phrases are not going to allow a breath... a BB is an indicator of a Big Breath.. to carry me through. Also I mark with the Comma where a section needs to breath together for rhythmic reasons, and entry reasons. DON'T forget a pencil at any rehearsal, and Mark your parts in pencil. More markings mean less stress,



  • @Doodlin said in How many measures on a tank of air?:

    As my beginner book progresses, the training wheels are just about off. That means the "breath marks" are no longer indicated. Is it more of a phrasing thing?

    Very much so, but as a rule of thumb, try to fit breaths in when they will be least interruptive to the intent of the music. Make the breaths seamless, invisible. Additionally, there may be several choices involved where a breath is needed, decide on the best case of the lot. For example, never take a breath in a slurred legato run or sustained hold.
    I need to be better at it myself, but at least I have a notion of what it should be.......



  • Another way to think about it is like a vocal tune - sing through the lines and find where you would breathe normally if you were singing lyrics.

    Where to breathe, and how long to play on one big breath of air is almost always dictated by the context of what you are playing - not only with tempo, but with phrasing.

    In a somewhat related side note, I always find my first couple of rehearsals back in a concert band challenging because as a guy who normally plays rock horn lines, those can be thought of in terms of hits - almost percussive at times - and they are often much shorter phrases than what you typically see in concert band literature. I find myself running out of air a lot on my first couple of concert band rehearsals until I get used to the difference in phrasing and breathing again.



  • @trickg said in How many measures on a tank of air?:

    Another way to think about it is like a vocal tune - sing through the lines and find where you would breathe normally if you were singing lyrics.

    THIS is key. Music is about phrasing. So phase the notes as you would speak the passage. When I learn a tune, I will always read the words over the notes if included in the music for the most accurate phrasing, pauses and breathing. When you do this a lot, you know the standard musical notations of whole, half, quarter, eighth, sixteenth notes sometimes just cannot "map out" as accurately the phrasing to which the spoken line was meant to express.



  • Play like a vocalist. Makes perfect sense.
    Today, the exercises introduced dotted half notes so I figured the quarter rests were a good opportunity to refill.



  • @Doodlin said in How many measures on a tank of air?:

    Play like a vocalist. Makes perfect sense.
    Today, the exercises introduced dotted half notes so I figured the quarter rests were a good opportunity to refill.

    Breathing during the rests is a given. Go for it every chance you get, unless you really don’t need to and can make it through to another opportune spot.



  • It is even possible to play an infinite number of measures on a continuous tank of air. This is possible through the technique of circular breathing (See the Medical Concerns Section for a disclaimer - which is really more tongue in cheek - so to speak). I find this technique works very well for extend phrases. I also like to use this technique about once a gig, and usually on a blues solo, to hold one note whereby I start a blues note that holds true through the I, IV, V progression for at usually two cycles through the progression. At the conclusion I blast through a series of 32 note runs for contrast and then take a more traditional blues solo. That has always been an exceptional audience crowd pleaser.

    Here is a link to the discussion of the technique:
    https://www.wikihow.com/Circular-Breathe



  • @Dr-GO said in How many measures on a tank of air?:

    It is even possible to play an infinite number of measures on a continuous tank of air. This is possible through the technique of circular breathing (See the Medical Concerns Section for a disclaimer - which is really more tongue in cheek - so to speak). I find this technique works very well for extend phrases. I also like to use this technique about once a gig, and usually on a blues solo, to hold one note whereby I start a blues note that holds true through the I, IV, V progression for at usually two cycles through the progression. At the conclusion I blast through a series of 32 note runs for contrast and then take a more traditional blues solo. That has always been an exceptional audience crowd pleaser.

    Here is a link to the discussion of the technique:
    https://www.wikihow.com/Circular-Breathe

    Possible, but from what I gather about our original poster in this thread, they are beginning at the trumpet - circular breathing is probably not something they should be distracted by at this point, and to that end, as a player with over 35 years experience, it's not something I've ever delved into either. I see it as little more than a gimmick to be used during a performance.



  • @trickg said in How many measures on a tank of air?:

    @Dr-GO said in How many measures on a tank of air?:

    It is even possible to play an infinite number of measures on a continuous tank of air. This is possible through the technique of circular breathing (See the Medical Concerns Section for a disclaimer - which is really more tongue in cheek - so to speak). I find this technique works very well for extend phrases. I also like to use this technique about once a gig, and usually on a blues solo, to hold one note whereby I start a blues note that holds true through the I, IV, V progression for at usually two cycles through the progression. At the conclusion I blast through a series of 32 note runs for contrast and then take a more traditional blues solo. That has always been an exceptional audience crowd pleaser.

    Here is a link to the discussion of the technique:
    https://www.wikihow.com/Circular-Breathe

    Possible, but from what I gather about our original poster in this thread, they are beginning at the trumpet - circular breathing is probably not something they should be distracted by at this point, and to that end, as a player with over 35 years experience, it's not something I've ever delved into either. I see it as little more than a gimmick to be used during a performance.

    Gimmick is right. Every time I see a player do that, I'm bored immediately if all they are doing is holding a note. In my view, at that moment, the music has stopped and the gimmick has begun. Time for me to move on to some other venue.



  • @Richard-III said in How many measures on a tank of air?:

    Gimmick is right. Every time I see a player do that, I'm bored immediately if all they are doing is holding a note. In my view, at that moment, the music has stopped and the gimmick has begun. Time for me to move on to some other venue.

    I must say, of all the techniques I use in a performance, this one gets the most response out of the audience. They are definitely not board if you incorporate the technique into the form. I do use it sparingly and only once a performance, but if you choose the right note through the right chord structure, that note really speaks out. It also helps to have a kick-ass rhythm section behind you to play around with that note as well. Definitely not boring if you place it into the right context.

    I also use the circular breathing behind very soft harmony lines (playing complete phrases and not holding one note only) behind our sax soloist ("But Beautiful" is one of the songs I use for this accent). It really puts a smooth, uninterpreted line behind the lead part.

    I must admit, I don't see many trumpet players use this, but when working trough my trumpet lessons with Claudio Roditi, I would transcribe sax solos for him in my lesson assignments, and that is where I perfected the circular breathing style. Claudio loved it, as he was working with me to develop my own solo voice, and he agreed, using sax phrasing in trumpet soloing really was a game changer.



  • @Doodlin
    Hi Doodlin,
    The amount of air you need will depend on the demands of the music and your ability to be conservative. I agree that a person needs to "sing" through the trumpet. A good idea is to mark the breath marks on the sheet music and think like a singer. Also, there's a story (might be true) of coal miners during the turn of the last century carrying canary birds in the coal mines to measure the air quality. If the bird passes out, it's time to leave that area of the coal mine. Now, how does that correlate? Notice the tenseness of your tongue. The tongue is the "canary in the coal mine" when it comes to endurance. Always monitor your tongue. If it's stiff and rigid, then you are using too much abdominal pressure to push out the air. To maintain a lose tongue, you must not force the air. In fact, it's darned hard to articulate and maintain a loose tongue and blow hard. Try keeping a keen awareness on your tongue. If your tongue is as stiff as a flexed muscle, you are using too much energy and force. On of the proponents of this idea was Mendez. This an be researched in the book A Prelude to Brass Playing by Mendez and another writer.
    Of course, you could just loosen up your tongue when you are playing and that will ease up the tendency to tighten the abdominals and force the air which will kick up your endurance big time. Hope this helps.
    Dr.Mark



  • Oh, come on. The OP is a beginner looking for a, or some, tips on his next step, not a profusion of tips he might not use for even years.

    Doodlin', it's about the music. Mark the phrases and breathe when one phrase ends and the other begins. If you can't last that long, then find a logical, musical, place within the phrase to breathe. Be sure to be aware that bar lines do not necesarrily define the phrases.



  • The second trumpet part in the Canadian Brass arrangement of Bach's "Little Fugue in C Minor" has an eleven bar phrase of sixteenths at one point. I didn't write just "BB" on my part, but rather "BFB."



  • @Vulgano-Brother said in How many measures on a tank of air?:

    The second trumpet part in the Canadian Brass arrangement of Bach's "Little Fugue in C Minor" has an eleven bar phrase of sixteenths at one point. I didn't write just "BB" on my part, but rather "BFB."

    Or you could circular breathe. Why torture yourself? Live and breathe longer. Stay healthy!


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