Breath control tips?

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AdamBielka
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Post by AdamBielka » January 24th, 2020, 12:55 pm

I've found breath control pretty difficult. I find when I try enunciate and speak clearly, I often run out of breath after a sentence or two, and have to do quite a lot of editing Does anyone have good introductory resources or tips on how to maintain consistent breathing that complements reading well?

Peter Why
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Post by Peter Why » January 24th, 2020, 1:13 pm

I still have that problem, and generally do handle it by rereading affected stretches during my recording and editing the clumsy bits out.

For most projects, I think the best way round this is to read the piece before you record it, and mark up the script to show breath pauses (and tone changes, too, if you wish). I don't do this for my current solo because it's such a long book that I prefer to read it cold, rather than read it twice, but I always read and mark up poems and DRs.

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Post by philchenevert » January 24th, 2020, 2:25 pm

Best advice I ever got was to consciously take a nice big breath before clicking that 'record' button. Besides givng me confidence in my breath, it slows me down and gives me a second or two to focus on the words I'm going to read while I take that big breath. :D
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Post by KevinS » January 24th, 2020, 2:45 pm

Boy oh boy, I don't know. A lot depends on the author or the material. One thing I now do, after Phil pointed out the Truncate Silence effect, is to rest more and just let the recording run. The truncate command makes the editing relatively mindless. It's pretty helpful, too, when the cat is singing in the other side of the house. (I set the upper level just high enough that this caterwauling is read as silence.)

But I rest after every paragraph now, nearly, and can read ahead a little bit to see what's coming up the road.

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Post by mightyfelix » January 24th, 2020, 11:27 pm

I think it's fairly normal to do about one or two sentences per breath, particularly if they're long sentences. If they're extra long sentences, you may need two or three breaths per sentence. Breathing is a normal part of speech. I wouldn't worry about it overmuch. I would say, definitely try to avoid cutting off at an unusual part of the-- *breath* --sentence to take a big breath :wink:, but as long as your breathing happens at natural breaks in the flow, I'm sure you'll sound fine. Sometimes I'll realize partway through a sentence that I don't have enough air to make it to the end. No sweat. Just take another lungful and do it again, this time finding a good place to break a bit sooner for air. In addition, it couldn't hurt to do a few breathing exercises from time to time, if you're really worried that your lung capacity isn't what it should be. Breathing exercises are quick and can be done anywhere, anytime during the day.

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Post by GraceBuchanan » January 25th, 2020, 6:06 am

I have gotten sweaty and dizzy while recording, and realized that it was because I wasn't breathing.

I haven't taken on any solo projects yet, so what I do might not be practical in the long run, but I copy and paste my text into a document. I add a line break or "/" where I want to breathe. I also note pronunciation, pacing, inflections, emphasis, and such. I had to rehearse following these prompts several times before I got used to it. Now, following my directions has become a habit.

I understand that some listeners don't want to hear any breathing. I listened to Meryl Streep read, and didn't hear her air move. She must have paused after each breath so it could be edited out, or maybe the engineer filtered it. Breaths are easier to read in Audacity when in the Spectogram view.

I listened to a 1960s audiobook recording by Basil Rathbone, and marked up the text to show where he breathed. That was a great exercise!
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schrm
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Post by schrm » January 25th, 2020, 7:07 am

mightyfelix wrote:
January 24th, 2020, 11:27 pm
I think it's fairly normal to do about one or two sentences per breath, particularly if they're long sentences. If they're extra long sentences, you may need two or three breaths per sentence. Breathing is a normal part of speech. I wouldn't worry about it overmuch.
that was the best advice i ever got and i fully agree!

breathing makes listening to the recording even more pleasant, in many cases. it is like listening to a real person and not a somewhat "over-perfect" soundfile.
(and another description i really liked and fully accept: don't forget, what we aim for: reading for librivox is like reading in a group, sitting together... be it for children, for older persons or around a campfire.)

that said, i amplify the volume of a single breath, sometimes. but i'm asthmatic.

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Post by GraceBuchanan » January 25th, 2020, 7:41 am

schrm wrote:
January 25th, 2020, 7:07 am
i amplify the volume of a single breath
That's great! After all, Basil Rathbone's breathing sounded great, so why not? It's all a matter of personal preference.
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Post by TriciaG » January 25th, 2020, 7:45 am

I cold read, meaning I rarely pre-read the material before voicing it. So sometimes I do get instances where my breath ends before the sentence or phrase does. :lol: Like Mightyfelix, I go back and repeat at least part of the sentence, then stitch the two good ends together.

Other than that, I haven't really noticed any breathing problems when I record.
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Post by lurcherlover » January 26th, 2020, 12:29 pm

It is a lot harder for singers!

Reading should be relatively easy. If you are too conscious of your breathing it will make it worse. Just forget about it and take mightyfelix's advice. Breathing is part of life and speech. I tried to give up breathing once or twice but always someone would bring me back! :wink: :roll:

DACSoft
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Post by DACSoft » January 26th, 2020, 2:20 pm

I was skimming over my unread posts for today and my eyes saw the title of this thread as "Birth control tips?" :lol:

A humorous moment for me in an otherwise trying day. :)

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Post by mightyfelix » January 26th, 2020, 3:57 pm

lurcherlover wrote:
January 26th, 2020, 12:29 pm
It is a lot harder for singers!
Do you think so? I think that my experience singing helps me to read more effectively. :hmm:

Oh, or did you mean that singers have to worry about breath control when they sing more than narrators do when they narrate?! :lol:

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Post by lurcherlover » January 26th, 2020, 10:53 pm

mightyfelix wrote:
January 26th, 2020, 3:57 pm
lurcherlover wrote:
January 26th, 2020, 12:29 pm
It is a lot harder for singers!
Do you think so? I think that my experience singing helps me to read more effectively. :hmm:

Oh, or did you mean that singers have to worry about breath control when they sing more than narrators do when they narrate?! :lol:
Singing will help, and yes, they have long lines to sing, and have to employ lots of other techniques (as wind players do), such as circular breathing.

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Post by lurcherlover » January 26th, 2020, 10:53 pm

DACSoft wrote:
January 26th, 2020, 2:20 pm
I was skimming over my unread posts for today and my eyes saw the title of this thread as "Birth control tips?" :lol:

A humorous moment for me in an otherwise trying day. :)
I could have done with some of those tips many years ago ...

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