I work as a music editor, and have a quick question regarding the performance technique know as 'rolling tone' for oboe.
The technique can be defined as follows:
"rolling tone is a somewhat precarious beating effect produced in the oboe’s low register. It is accomplished by extreme embouchure pressure on the lower blade of the reed, making one blade vibrate at a slightly different frequency than the other. This heterodyning, or mixing, of the two frequencies produces the beats which constitute rolling tone."
However, my questions is:
Is this a common technique for oboe i.e. would most accomplished players know what 'rolling tone' implies if they came across it in a score?
This is an advanced technique. Common? no. Although 'accomplished' oboists should be aware of it, few will have the desire to even try it or think they will ever need it. I would estimate less than 25% of good college oboists will know what it is and 10% might be able to do it. The same goes for circular breathing - people have heard about it; some know how to do it, few can do it, fewer can do it well. Same for the 'rolling tone'.
If you are editing or writing for high school - no. If you are writing a solo and that's the sound you want then Yes, do it (just know it won't be played every day). Typical college music? no.
Thanks for your perspectives on this - much appreciated.
I'm editing a contemporary work for solo oboe and orchestra (I'm not the composer), so it's primarily aimed at advanced players. However, I'm thinking it may still be best to include some kind of performance note.
I think adding some instructions on something like this is very smart.
A) it will explain something a performer might not have learned yet.
B) it will explain exactly what the composer wants (which could be slightly different than what a given performer might have learned.
C) by understanding the instructions a given performer who might not be able to do the specific technique could omit it by choice or do something else to get a similar message across to the audience.
oh, if there were only more editors like you, who care about the music.