Quena Embouchure

Basics of Flute Playing, Tone Production and Fingerings

Moderators: Classitar, pied_piper, Phineas

Post Reply
Bani
Posts: 10
Joined: Mon Aug 15, 2011 1:02 pm

Quena Embouchure

Post by Bani » Tue Aug 16, 2011 6:04 pm

I'm gonna give this a try but searching for past posts on Quena I don't see much. I'm getting the feeling that there is not too much interest in the Quena by non-latino's.

I'm having a heck of a time with figuring the right embochure, placement, aperature etc... I have heard alot of people have tried but they gave up so that gives me some solace. But I ain't giving up until I get it.

I have been playing it a little each day and playing with different set-ups, different force of blowing (gentle works best) and I'm finally able to get to the second octave. i get to the sol on the second octave and the sound collapses back to the lower octave. I'm still not consistent in any register and still looking for a center.

My sense in reading other posts on the internet is that msot people don't want to spend the time learning a new embochure if they play some form of a transverse flute. All the tutorials that seem to speak about emochure are in spanish except I found one by an Irish guy who looked like he was struggling and never demonstrated the second octave.

Now looking at this guy on youtube, he makes it like dang easy.

http://youtu.be/ISyzUbO2r_M

Has anybody tried the Quena? If you tried but gave up, that would be useful to know also. It means I'm on the right track and just moving through the initial learning phase.

If you haven't tried the Quena, why not?

User avatar
Bo
Posts: 389
Joined: Mon Sep 15, 2008 5:40 pm
Location: Down Under

Re: Quena Embouchure

Post by Bo » Wed Aug 17, 2011 1:37 am

I have one, although I don't play it regularly. :( The guy who sold it to me (a real South American) played it wonderfully, so it shouldn't be a bad one.
I have problems with the sounds of the third octave, otherwise I can play it, although not like the guy who sold it to me. Then again, I have been playing it for a few hours altogether...
I noticed from the videos below that even the guy there doesn't play the third octave as I "imagine" it, maybe the third octave is just like that, extremely difficult.

Anyway, try these videos. You have to register, but they don't pester you with emails. I never got one apart from the registration email.
http://musicschool.latinflutes.com/phpautomembersarea/

Bani
Posts: 10
Joined: Mon Aug 15, 2011 1:02 pm

Re: Quena Embouchure

Post by Bani » Wed Aug 17, 2011 8:13 am

Thanks Bo,
I reviewed his lessons. MOstly on fingering and absolutely nothing on what adjustments to make with embochure to get a consistent 2nd and 3rd octave. Maybe when I figure it out I'll have to post that youtube video for other gringo's who sell their quena after a month.

The more I play it the more consistent I am in the 2nd octave so I think it is a matter of just being persistent with it. I have a feeling most non-South Americans give up on it and don't persist because it is not their main instrument. It's getting past that invisible wall. I've put down all my other flutes and just concentrating on this one because I think once you get past the wall there is alot of good music to be made.

fluteguy18
Posts: 2311
Joined: Sun Jul 16, 2006 3:11 pm

Re: Quena Embouchure

Post by fluteguy18 » Sat Aug 20, 2011 8:08 am

try chiffandfipple.com

While they focus mainly on celtic whistles and flutes the forum there is HUGE and there's a large section dedicated to 'other' flutes and Quena comes up in discussion rather often. I have a Quena as well, but while I don't play it often I don't struggle with it either. The third octave takes a lot of embouchure strength and air power. While I can play up there it's a challenge because I don't regularly play that instrument. My best bit of advice is to pretend you're spitting rice, firming your corners, and making sure you have a good seal around the end.

Also, if you go to eriktheflutemaker.com, he also has some Quena videos.

User avatar
Mark
Posts: 177
Joined: Wed Dec 13, 2006 3:07 pm
Location: Texas
Contact:

Re: Quena Embouchure

Post by Mark » Sat Aug 20, 2011 5:33 pm

to be honest, I haven't tried the 3rd octave.. :)
Not a whole lot of trouble with the first two though. It is a matter of
practice, and experimentation I think.
The same with the Anasazi flutes. that is where I started on rim-blown flutes. :)

I will get it out and see if I can come back with pointers on the high notes soon.
for now.. it's off to mend the gate.


mark
So many instruments.... so little time.... :)

User avatar
Bo
Posts: 389
Joined: Mon Sep 15, 2008 5:40 pm
Location: Down Under

Re: Quena Embouchure

Post by Bo » Sun Aug 21, 2011 8:54 pm

There are also some quick tips here:
http://www.livestrong.com/article/31800 ... technique/

User avatar
Mark
Posts: 177
Joined: Wed Dec 13, 2006 3:07 pm
Location: Texas
Contact:

Re: Quena Embouchure

Post by Mark » Fri Aug 26, 2011 5:40 pm

I seem to be currently stuck at 2.5 octaves. and the last few I am only partially covering
the thumb hole on the back. That seems to work better for me than completely open or
completely closed on the high notes.

mark
So many instruments.... so little time.... :)

Bani
Posts: 10
Joined: Mon Aug 15, 2011 1:02 pm

Re: Quena Embouchure

Post by Bani » Fri Aug 26, 2011 5:51 pm

Mark wrote:I seem to be currently stuck at 2.5 octaves. and the last few I am only partially covering
the thumb hole on the back. That seems to work better for me than completely open or
completely closed on the high notes.

mark
Thanks Mark. I'll give that a try!

James_Alto
Posts: 50
Joined: Wed Oct 27, 2010 2:07 pm

Re: Quena Embouchure

Post by James_Alto » Fri Aug 26, 2011 6:09 pm

Mark wrote:I seem to be currently stuck at 2.5 octaves. and the last few I am only partially covering
the thumb hole on the back. That seems to work better for me than completely open or
completely closed on the high notes.

mark

You're doing well to get 2.5 octaves!

I find the octave range really varies according to the flute and its maker's design.

Most of all (or worse of all) ..... me and my embouchure! 8)
I have been playing it a little each day and playing with different set-ups, different force of blowing (gentle works best) and I'm finally able to get to the second octave. i get to the sol on the second octave and the sound collapses back to the lower octave. I'm still not consistent in any register and still looking for a center.
Yes...the quena's sweetspot really varies according to design of the quena ... and the angle you hold it. If the second octave sound is collapsing back to the base octave, then you need to either tilt your quena more towards the ground, or try raising it towards 45 degrees towards the horizontal.

My problem with the quena is that I am running out of breath after 2 short crotchets. I'm sure I'm doing something wrong too. Lol. I don't want to sound like the blind leading the blind.

I'm enjoying learning on Francois' flutes though. They have a beautifully sweet second octave - no problems at all. It's the base octave - I just can't get the breath to sustain a phrase.

I recently had some sent for demo'g by Francois de Villiers:

Image
Image
Image


The embouchure styles are very different - I'm new to the Quena, so I'm learning!


This is his site:

https://sites.google.com/site/modernethnicflutes/home

He sent me these to try because I was keen. Don't know him otherwise, but he's a great guy and sent me them to try for free.

Don't be put off by Chiff & Fipple - it's true there are some opinionated long-in-the tooth trolls on the Chiff & Fipple forum who are rude and condescending to newcomers. But there are more decent folk on it too.

I'd love to hear how you're getting on. I'll not get to practice on mine until I return home after the summer vacations.

Bani
Posts: 10
Joined: Mon Aug 15, 2011 1:02 pm

Re: Quena Embouchure

Post by Bani » Fri Aug 26, 2011 7:03 pm

Thanks James for all your sharing! I agree 2.5 octaves is doing really well.

I guess what I'm interested in more than range is consistency of tone and flexibility like this guy.

Listen to how he jumps octaves effortlessly throughout. He doesn't quickly at 57-58 seconds. He doesn't seem to be adjusting the angle. And his embochure seems like almost if he were playing a brass instrument. tight corners. Has anybody heard somebody play the Quena better? I haven't found a better example on youtube. Ya think he has an excemptional quena or he is just a young master? I realize he has a lot of reverb. I'd take two octaves and this guys flexibility.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ISyzUbO2 ... re=related


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3fH98q3-NK0

More great octave jumps without effort.

http://www.youtube.com/user/kennaxtreme


My quena is similar to the one here at .15

http://www.youtube.com/user/bambuar#p/u/12/34x5r4OLX8I

And the one he is trying at 2.00 min
http://www.youtube.com/user/bambuar#p/u/1/i9nzcvBCUoA

Bani
Posts: 10
Joined: Mon Aug 15, 2011 1:02 pm

Re: Quena Embouchure

Post by Bani » Fri Aug 26, 2011 8:17 pm

I hit the 3rd Octave for the first time after watching this video. It's not for the Quena but for native american rim flutes. And I've been doing it consistently for the last 1/2 hour. And it is exactly what I see the guy kenny extrema doing in his video and probably the reason he sounds better than everybody else giving advice. And while these things are important, they aren't the deciding factor.

It's not angle. It's not spitting watermelon seeds. It's not changing the aperature, it's not directing the air flow up or down. It's creating a flat surface and puckering like a brass player, not keeping a loose lower lip like a transverse flute. I can play brass instruments and if I think trumpet mouthpiece instead of flute, I can get the higher notes no problem. Obviously, if I can do it consistently for a few days and develop some flexibiloity like kenna extrem, then I'll stick with that answer.

Let me know if this works for anybody. And I imagine those native american rim blown flutes like the anastasi or the middle eastern ney provide the same challenges.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KsPoOGgw ... re=related

Jonny
Posts: 1
Joined: Fri Oct 21, 2011 3:19 pm

Re: Quena Embouchure

Post by Jonny » Fri Oct 21, 2011 3:26 pm

Hi. I've just joined, so I'm new here. Nice to meet you all.

I've just got my first quena today. I found this topic. This video is worth watching.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9JRTU0X1LXo

I think this man is incredible. His 3rd octave sounds like child's play. Inspiring and depressing at the same time . . .

Bani
Posts: 10
Joined: Mon Aug 15, 2011 1:02 pm

Re: Quena Embouchure

Post by Bani » Sun Oct 23, 2011 5:13 am

Jonny wrote:Hi. I've just joined, so I'm new here. Nice to meet you all.

I've just got my first quena today. I found this topic. This video is worth watching.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9JRTU0X1LXo

I think this man is incredible. His 3rd octave sounds like child's play. Inspiring and depressing at the same time . . .
I started this topic over two months. Since, I've collected various quena's and have practiced virtually everyday. So for posterity sake, I'll provide the key to developing a flexibity and range on the quena for the advice I recieved on this forum on others were well intended but not the crux of the issue.

The quena like any wind instrument whether it is brass, or a reed instruments requires one to develop a strong and relaxed embochure to support the air flow. It also requires a well made instrument. It is difficult to know which are the well made instruments until you have sufficiently developed some degree of proficiency on the instrument. It is why I've noticed on this forum on others that often a person will buy a new quena and be dissapointed and blame the instrument. They have not given enough time to adjust their embochure to the instrument and develop a strong enough embochure. Basically, it seems that many people give up easily. The video's and tutorials I have seen from non-native quena players are again well intention but if you can't play the full range of the instrument or demonstrate it, why are you giving advice to others?

The key to developing flexibility and range is PRACTICE. Even if you are good at the bansuri or other transverse flute the embochure doesn't translate to the quena. As a matter of fact, for awhile, I had to put down the transverse flutes to get my embochure accustome to the quena. Just like brass players or reed players who get accustomed to a certain mouthpiece or reed, each quena varies in size as well as the type of notch it has. Eventually, you will subconsiously know the correct embochure after consistent playing. So it's best to stick with one quena at first.

Contrary to the advice given here, i do not think it is advisable to adjust the angle of the quena to get higher and lower range. Yes, just like the bansuri you can effect the tuning by turning it away and toward you. However, the change needs to be in the aperature and the embochure and you will intuitively adjust the angle, just as a brass instrument. A brass player will automatically raise the instrument for lower notes and change the angle for higher notes but the ability to play higher lower is not dependent on the angle as much as the aperature.

So again the key here to good range and flexibility is patience and practice. You must give it a couple of months. I found playing scales tonguing and sluring, arpeggio's and playing one or two melodies was useful. As far as spitting watermelon seeds, again it's not the crux of the matter. This has to do with clean articulation. It is helpful at first to articulate with a TU just like most instruments that it starts the sound cleanly. However, the sound production is not dependent on good articulation just good air flow. It is possible to get a good sound without articulation and any good instrumentalist practices different kind of articulation because not all music is staccato. So practice scales with articulation and slurring. You don't want to rely on articulation to get the sound going but yes at first it's helpful.

The principles I'm providing here work across many instruments. The native american flute is the exception because it doesn't require a specialized embochure. Some of these guys make it look and sound easy but be aware they didn't get it overnight. Be your own teacher.

PAN

Re: Quena Embouchure

Post by PAN » Sat Nov 05, 2011 3:53 pm

Hey Guys....

I am absolutely baffled.....stunned, ... astonished...
call it what You want....

Since 25 Years I am a maker of Saxophones and Flutes....allways dealing with complicated mechanisms and Airtight Pads...
and now there comes this Quena- Flute and the Videos to it....a piece of wooden tube and a couple of holes in it.....
and WOW !!!!! I am simply stunned about the sound and the range this thing has..............

I have played Rim-flutes before.....but they were more of the Type to play Christmas-carols .....similar to the Recorder-Flutes.

This Quena- Flute is a killer though !!
I simply LOVE it !!

.............. Will have to get one soon......

PAN

Post Reply