It is currently Mon Aug 10, 2020 6:38 am

All times are UTC - 6 hours




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 19 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2  Next
Author Message
 
PostPosted: Sat Oct 24, 2009 9:10 am 
Offline

Joined: Sat Oct 04, 2008 7:40 am
Posts: 4
I've been learning box for 2-3 years now, and have tremendous fun recintly as my playing has started to "take off". There's one troubling thing I notice while playing: I find myself forgetting to breath (lung-wise not bellows-wise). This usually happens when I'm either working on a new tune, or playing a tune that has alot of tricky fingering and bellows changes. After some tunes, I'm quit literally out of breath at the end! Many times I find myself take very shallow "hups", then I get distracted and the tune falls apart. I've been playing sax for 25 years, and of course never had a breathing problem while playing that.

Could it be my woodwind background playing tricks on me?
Is box playing so mentally demanding I forget to breath!?!?
Do my god-given bellows need a breather valve? *grin*
Box induced hiccups?

Has anyone here ever have such a problem?

_________________
"There's only one thing I do well, and that's whistling in the dark" -TMBG


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 
PostPosted: Sun Oct 25, 2009 7:33 am 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Wed Jan 04, 2006 10:16 pm
Posts: 8144
Location: kanawha county, west virginia
I picked up the harmonica as a method of breathing exercises following heart surgery. My experience is that the harmonica improves the lung power better than any other wind instrument that I play because I'm playing on both the inhale and the exhale, rather than just the exhale and I'm probably breathing through those tiny little square holes. I've never played a sax so I can't speak directly for that instrument. I play the whistle, flute, & ocarina. Those instruments require breath control more so than lung power which is what I believe the harmonica requires.

_________________
Rose tint my world. Keep me safe from my trouble and pain.
白飞梦


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 
PostPosted: Sun Oct 25, 2009 3:52 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Sat Sep 30, 2006 12:45 pm
Posts: 18663
Location: San Diego, CA
Beretta, I assume you play B/C or C#/D accordion?

Maybe because I'm a wind player, too, I also find it difficult to decouple my breathing from bellows motion. On B/C box I tend to breathe with the bellows - inhale/pull, exhale/push. On English concertina, which is not push-pull, I tend to inhale at the bellows changes. And I subvocalize - a kind of low groan that sounds like a dog having its belly scratched. :o

I think it helps to relax your breathing as much as possible, and to practice taking slow, steady breaths like normal breathing while exercising the bellows. You can practice consciously changing your breathing habits by, for example, inhaling on the push and exhaling on the draw. Or playing a run of push or draw notes and consciously taking several breaths. It may not completely break the automaticity. But if you can force a relaxed breath when you need it without destroying the tune, at least you'll no longer be turning blue. :lol:

_________________
Vivat diabolus in musica! MTGuru's (old) GG Clips / Blackbird Clips

Joel Barish: Is there any risk of brain damage?
Dr. Mierzwiak: Well, technically speaking, the procedure is brain damage.


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 
PostPosted: Sun Oct 25, 2009 4:21 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Wed Jan 04, 2006 10:16 pm
Posts: 8144
Location: kanawha county, west virginia
I don't think I read the original post close enough.

_________________
Rose tint my world. Keep me safe from my trouble and pain.
白飞梦


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 
PostPosted: Mon Oct 26, 2009 6:18 am 
Offline

Joined: Sat Oct 04, 2008 7:40 am
Posts: 4
MTGuru, yes I'm learning a B/C box. I'm glad I'm not the only weird breathing habits! I think I slouch while playing too, I might try keeping my back straighter... that usually helps with any instrument.

_________________
"There's only one thing I do well, and that's whistling in the dark" -TMBG


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 
PostPosted: Mon Oct 26, 2009 7:13 am 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Thu May 17, 2001 6:00 pm
Posts: 2175
Location: Montreal
Just curious: are you making lots of use of your air button (as you should be), and if so, how does that affect the breathing problem?

Apparently this is a fairly common affliction among beginner box and Anglo concertina players - happily I never suffered from it. Maybe it's a B/C thing? See here for a similar report and some more suggestions: http://forum.melodeon.net/index.php/topic,1175.0.html


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 
PostPosted: Mon Oct 26, 2009 10:32 am 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Sat Sep 30, 2006 12:45 pm
Posts: 18663
Location: San Diego, CA
Thanks for the link, Steve. Yes, I'd guess the problem is not unique. And it's interesting that the advice there is similar to my own. Personally, I've been doing this long enough now that it's no longer a problem that I notice. Except when trying to answer Beretta's question!

I don't think it's an air button issue, just an automatic pat-your-head and rub-your-belly sort of thing. But maybe it's worse on B/C with its longer bellows strokes. On C#/D and Anglo you'd be hyperventilating. And on English 'tina, as on piano accordion, you can basically reverse directions at will.

Funny that someone mentioned Atholl Highlanders. The first part of Inisheer is another one, both long draw challenges. On tunes like these, the air button and magic notes are definitely your friends. :-)

_________________
Vivat diabolus in musica! MTGuru's (old) GG Clips / Blackbird Clips

Joel Barish: Is there any risk of brain damage?
Dr. Mierzwiak: Well, technically speaking, the procedure is brain damage.


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 
PostPosted: Mon Oct 26, 2009 11:14 am 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Tue Jun 26, 2001 6:00 pm
Posts: 2783
Location: Montreal, Canada
I had the problem too on the anglo concertina. Not so much now, but I would play and tend to try to control my breathing even though it made no sense. Also, I think I was somewhat associating running out of air with the bellows with running out of air with my lungs! :boggle: I think disassociating the two comes naturaly the more you play.


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 
PostPosted: Mon Oct 26, 2009 7:46 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Thu May 17, 2001 6:00 pm
Posts: 2175
Location: Montreal
MTGuru wrote:
I don't think it's an air button issue, just an automatic pat-your-head and rub-your-belly sort of thing. But maybe it's worse on B/C with its longer bellows strokes. On C#/D and Anglo you'd be hyperventilating.

That's why I suggested in the thread on the other forum that playing scales up and down the row might be a good cure. And I wondered whether the air button would throw a spanner in the works - I mean, if you are breathing in on a press and you use the air button in the course of it, do you suddenly take an extra big gulp?

Quote:
Funny that someone mentioned Atholl Highlanders. The first part of Inisheer is another one, both long draw challenges. On tunes like these, the air button and magic notes are definitely your friends. :-)

Indeed. You might be amused by the findings of a quick and dirty program I wrote a while ago to satisfy my curiosity about the differences in bellows movements between B/C and C#/D boxes by analyzing all Norbeck's 1600-odd Irish tunes and counting the minimum bellows movements each system would require for each tune.

The results show that, yes, most of the tunes involve fewer bellows changes on B/C, but the overall tally is closer than you might think. An average of 13 bellows changes on C#/D for every 10 on B/C. But as you can see in the file below, in some of the Amaj tunes (making maximum use of magic notes to _avoid_ bellows changes: any other assumption would have put writing the program beyond my skills and free time) a B/C would use 10 times fewer bellows changes than C#/D. And... Atholl Highlanders is in the no. 2 position!

Your friends indeed.

http://www.rogermillington.com/steam/alltunes_abd2.txt


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 
PostPosted: Tue Oct 27, 2009 6:34 am 
Offline

Joined: Sat Oct 04, 2008 7:40 am
Posts: 4
Thanks for all the replies. It's nice to know I'm not the only person with breathing while playing box. Like, I said its usually only a problem when I'm playing a difficult tune, or a new one I'm just learning. I don't turn blue on those tunes I've played 10000 times... I guess it goes to show that the box does take quite a bit of brain cells! Now I just have to concentrate on walking and chewing bubble gum....

_________________
"There's only one thing I do well, and that's whistling in the dark" -TMBG


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 
PostPosted: Wed Oct 28, 2009 10:40 am 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Sat Sep 30, 2006 12:45 pm
Posts: 18663
Location: San Diego, CA
StevieJ wrote:
You might be amused by the findings of a quick and dirty program I wrote a while ago to satisfy my curiosity about the differences in bellows movements between B/C and C#/D boxes by analyzing all Norbeck's 1600-odd Irish tunes and counting the minimum bellows movements each system would require for each tune.

Cheers, Steve. A very interesting little project, nicely done. :thumbsup:

I suppose tightening your algorithm on magic notes to reflect not just minimum movement but likely use of those notes would be more accurate. But I doubt it would change the overall trend of your results.

I wonder if the (mis)perception that C#/D is more than 27% more spastic than B/C is based on thinking of the scale/mode fingerings out of context. For example, D Major scale involving only 2 bellows changes on B/C, versus 6 changes in the basic fingering on C#/D.

It would be interesting to take that number for each scale, weighted by the distribution of scales/modes in Norbeck, and see what results. Almost makes me want to break out my Perl editor again ... :lol:

_________________
Vivat diabolus in musica! MTGuru's (old) GG Clips / Blackbird Clips

Joel Barish: Is there any risk of brain damage?
Dr. Mierzwiak: Well, technically speaking, the procedure is brain damage.


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 
PostPosted: Wed Oct 28, 2009 3:09 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Thu May 17, 2001 6:00 pm
Posts: 2175
Location: Montreal
MTGuru wrote:
I suppose tightening your algorithm on magic notes to reflect not just minimum movement but likely use of those notes would be more accurate. But I doubt it would change the overall trend of your results.

I wonder if the (mis)perception that C#/D is more than 27% more spastic than B/C is based on thinking of the scale/mode fingerings out of context. For example, D Major scale involving only 2 bellows changes on B/C, versus 6 changes in the basic fingering on C#/D.

It would be interesting to take that number for each scale, weighted by the distribution of scales/modes in Norbeck, and see what results. Almost makes me want to break out my Perl editor again ... :lol:


I thought about trying to make the prediction as to when a magic note might be used more realistic but quickly gave up! For one thing, I don't know enough about B/C players' fingering habits (despite my readiness to pontificate on the subject of fingering on that system :oops: ) and for another, my program simply parsed each line of ABC one note after the other - looking ahead and considering things in groups would be another challenge entirely, one that I didn't have time for in any case, even if I thought I was up to it.

I'm sure you're right that people think C#/D is so much more arduous, bellows-wise, than B/C, because they look at scales. So much of Irish music is based around arpeggios, after all. A look at the last tune in my file, the Silver Slipper, shows how dramatically the picture can change when arpeggios of D major are involved.

The other thing to bear in mind is that if (in D major at least) the C#/D involves more bellows changes, B/C involves using more buttons. You can play a one-octave scale of D on C#/D using no more than four buttons, whereas you have to use seven on B/C. So less bellows waggling, and more finger gymnastics.

Anyway I think worrying about the work involved in changing bellows direction is only for rank beginners. It really isn't a problem, on either instrument, as soon as you start progressing. Bellows changes are what set us apart from CBAs and PAs, after all.

For your interest, MTG, here is the program that did the dirty work. It's in FoxPro which should be reasonably intelligible, esp. if you've used dBase or similar programs. My own curiosity is sufficiently satisfied, but if you think of ways to improve it, and I'm sure you can, please go ahead!

Sorry to have hijacked your breathing thread, beretta. Maybe you can use the results of my program to calculate how many times you breathe during a given tune :D


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 
PostPosted: Wed Oct 28, 2009 4:21 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Sat Sep 30, 2006 12:45 pm
Posts: 18663
Location: San Diego, CA
StevieJ wrote:
For your interest, MTG, here is the program that did the dirty work. It's in FoxPro which should be reasonably intelligible, esp. if you've used dBase or similar programs. My own curiosity is sufficiently satisfied, but if you think of ways to improve it, and I'm sure you can, please go ahead!

Heh heh ... I was a dBase III / Clipper programmer for a number of years, but that was a looong time ago. If I brush away my rust I can read your code, but I don't think I'll be tweaking your nicely commented source today. :-)

StevieJ wrote:
Sorry to have hijacked your breathing thread, beretta. Maybe you can use the results of my program to calculate how many times you breathe during a given tune :D

It would be interesting to hook up a bunch of box players of different levels and kinds to a spirometer and bellows sensor, then plot and correlate breath against bellows. With MIDI-fitted boxes you could easily track button choices. There's a Master's thesis just waiting to be written!

_________________
Vivat diabolus in musica! MTGuru's (old) GG Clips / Blackbird Clips

Joel Barish: Is there any risk of brain damage?
Dr. Mierzwiak: Well, technically speaking, the procedure is brain damage.


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 
PostPosted: Fri Mar 05, 2010 9:06 am 
Offline

Joined: Fri Mar 05, 2010 8:49 am
Posts: 2
I do the same thing with Uilleann pipes in the high octave--I hold my breath.
I think it just means you need to relax.

Robert


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 
PostPosted: Fri Mar 05, 2010 10:22 am 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Sat Sep 30, 2006 12:45 pm
Posts: 18663
Location: San Diego, CA
Hey Robert, welcome to the Chiffboard, and the California Mob. :-)

Actually, you see all sorts of autonomic, secondary behaviors among musicians. Breathing, body and head movement, weird facial expressions, subvocalization. It's pretty funny. I tend to grunt when playing concertina (but not accordion), and bite my tongue when playing tenor banjo (but not guitar). Go figure.

Fiddler Dave Swarbrick is/was famous for grunting and moaning. Was it pianist Glenn Gould who used to hum when playing? I have a few orchestral recordings of conductors humming along, too.

_________________
Vivat diabolus in musica! MTGuru's (old) GG Clips / Blackbird Clips

Joel Barish: Is there any risk of brain damage?
Dr. Mierzwiak: Well, technically speaking, the procedure is brain damage.


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 19 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2  Next

All times are UTC - 6 hours


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
Powered by phpBB® Forum Software © phpBB Group
[ Time : 0.192s | 12 Queries | GZIP : On ]
(dh)