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 Quena from South America

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PostSubject: Quena from South America   Fri May 23, 2008 8:50 pm

This is the main top blown flute I am familiar with, assuming that you don't count the top blown head you can get for standard flutes.

I've yet to actually lay my hand on one, although I made some imitations in PVC to see if I could.

Anyone know how they compare in ease of play? I know you have to hold your mouth very differently... that seemed like the main difference to me, basically making a fipple out of your lips. Mine didn't play very well in teh upper registers, but that's probably an aspect ratio thing.
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PostSubject: Re: Quena from South America   Sat May 24, 2008 5:24 pm

The key to end blown flutes is a narrow bore length (reference: Kaval). A bore/length ratio of 1/38 or 1/40 gives more acoustic coupling (energy) in the upper registers. This technique is used on most Tabor Pipes (A 5 ft Fujara is a Contrabass Tabor Pipe) togive more power to the upper registers.

Have you tried an "external" windway leading to a standard flute voicing/embouchure? Some Maylasian flutes use this design. You can find some examples in organ pipe designs that can be "modified" here...

http://www.organstops.org/_apps/Illustrations.html

Have a look in the Archives/Library at...

http://www.mimf.com/

...For any design measurements and instructions on Quena-style and Shakuhachi flutes. Have you looked at the craft manuals listed on Monty Levensons site?...

http://www.shakuhachi.com/TOC-CM.html
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PostSubject: Re: Quena from South America   Sat May 24, 2008 6:00 pm

Those are great links Thomas, thanks for posting them. The Mimf archives are almost daunting.

I havn't tried much in the way of windways, although I did make some extended windways on a few of my vessel flutes (Xun). They worked so well I almost regretted making them, because they took some of the challenge out of learning to make a bare hole produce a note.

But your link to the pipe organs led me to an idea about my two part pipes that would use just such an external windway. I'll have to think about it for a while and if you don't mind, maybe run some ideas past you.
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PostSubject: Re: Quena from South America   Sat May 24, 2008 6:45 pm

Questions? shoot!

You can find fellow "Xun/Hsuan ceramic flute makers at...
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Ocarinaclub/messages

Member Barry Hall of Burnt Earth Ceramics is an expert in ceramic instrument craftwork
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PostSubject: Re: Quena from South America   Mon May 26, 2008 9:18 pm

As far as ease of play, once you get used to a notch flute, it's not to bad at all. Smile
For a challenge you might also try an anasazi rim-blown flute. Smile

The range suits me as I don't bother to go past two octaves and seldom to the
top of the second octave. I have found that there are plenty of things I can
do with an octave and a half on a Quena. Smile
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PostSubject: Re: Quena from South America   Wed May 28, 2008 6:06 pm

I'm surprise how many cultures have rim blown flutes of different types and how little they are known of in the general population. That the cultures have them is obvious, it is (to me) the obvious method to make a flute. What surprises me is how few people have even been exposed to one. Like me. Never heard of one until after I made one.

How can that be? Even the more common "Traditional" flutes are more or less fipple flutes, like the NAF or recorder. I'm sure I saw the ney being played, but never so that it's construction was apparent.

The transverse flute, with it's uncomfortable angle of play, seem to have pushed them all to the side.
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PostSubject: Re: Quena from South America   Thu Jul 24, 2008 11:50 pm

yes, it does seem to have pushed them aside. Although not in South America it seems.

Pan flutes also have done well on both sides of the Atlantic. Smile
I believe that the transverse pushed the fipple flutes aside due to the expresiveness
that was available, although I might be wrong.

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PostSubject: Re: Quena from South America   Fri Jul 25, 2008 10:00 am

Certainly a transverse flute can be more expressive than a fipple flute, but at least at my skill level, no more so than a edge blown flute. I believe that most of the expression comes from embouchure adjustments, which are shared by transverse and edge blown flutes.

However (and realize that my experience with transverse flutes is minimal), I think the edge blown flutes have an additional area of expression available to them. I think the mouth cavity itself gives somewhat of it's flavor to the sound. The back pressure or reflection of the sound hole always seems to resonate in my mouth, and changing my jaw and tongue positions can enhance or disrupt the note.

This seems less true of the transverse flute, which has the small fixed chamber between the sound hole and the cork to do that job.
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