Quena

Name: Quena.
Type: Notched Flute > Aerophones.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#:
Specimens: 4 in collection.
Country: Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Many.
Region: South America.
Acquisition Sources: Rene Hugo Sanchez, Vancouver Folk Festival “market”.

Description: The quena (hispanicized spelling of Quechua [qina] sometimes also written kena in English. It is a traditional flute of the Andes. Traditionally made of cane or wood, it has 6 finger holes and one thumb hole, and is open on both ends or the bottom is half-closed (choked). To produce sound, the player closes the top end of the pipe with the flesh between the chin and lower lip, and blows a stream of air downward, along the axis of the pipe, over an elliptical notch cut into the end.

Acoustics: It is normally tuned the key of G, with G4 being the lowest note, all holes covered. The quena produces a very “textured” and “dark” timbre because of the length-to-bore ratio of about 16 to 20 (subsequently causing difficulty in the upper register, which is very unlike the tone of the Western concert flute with bore ratio about 38.