Queña

Name: Queña.
Type: Notched Flute > Aerophones.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 421.111.12
Specimens: 4 in collection.
Country: Many, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador.
Region: South America.
Acquisition Sources: Rene Hugo Sanchez, Vancouver Folk Festival “market”.

Description: The queña [hispanicized spelling of the original Quechua name qina sometimes also written kena in English. It is a traditional pre-Colombian flute that is found in the Andes region, the Quena is played all the way from Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, North Western Argentina, Northern Chile and the Andean region of Colombia.

Playing Techniques: 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.

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