QUOTE(linda.ff @ Mar 16 2012, 04:07 PM)
I bought a quena several years ago, in a sale of Peruvian goods. I've tried many times since the to play it and I can scarcely get a sound out of it. If I cover all the holes I can just about get a faint tone.
I'm not a flautist, I am a pretty good recorder player, but I know how the sound is produced on a flute and I can do it, I can blow across most bottles and adjust my embouchure to get the clearest sound. But this think is just eluding me. It's not a blow-across-a-bottle mouthpiece, nor do you put it into your mouth like a recorder, it just has a notch in the top cut into a slight curve
I've watched video after video to get the right embouchure, still no tone. Are they really that difficult to play? Is it possible that a flute like this can be cut so that the edge is just in a wrong position to produce tone? It could be that it's one of a batch made for tourists and carelessly made so that it looks nice but that's all - however, it doesn't seem that you could go far wrong making a thng like that.
It's very nice, hand-painted, wood I think not bamboo (has a nice llama on the front)
I've had a couple of quenas. The first one was also a wooden one and very hard to play. I now have a bamboo one and I find it easier. I also made sure to get a quick lesson in the music shop (in Cuzco, Peru) where I bought it.
It makes a difference if it's a proper quena or a souvenir one although, if it's wooden, it should be a proper instrument. Tourist ones are nearly always made from bamboo and often playable but not at all in tune. It could be a fake but less likely if wood.
It can require quite a long time to work out the proper embouchure and angle of wind down into the instrument and a tiny adjustment can make a huge difference. I'm far from expert and not really able to explain on here. Also, it takes a lot of wind, a lot more than you'd use with a recorder. Andean folks have impressive chest cavities and impressive stamina on wind instruments...
I also bought a couple of traverse quenas (i.e. played like flute) which are very likely a recent invention. They were actually easier to play than the traditional quena.
I hope you find the knack and manage to make a sound. It can be a hauntingly beautiful instrument.