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  • Ron Godoy

Quenas - Varieties and Fingering Chart

Recently, I had many people asking for information about quenas. There is a variety of peruvian quenas and sometimes it can be confusing to know which one to choose.

Quenas are woodwind instruments from the family of the flutes that are among the first musical instruments that humans have used. There are many different varieties around the world, and the quena is the South-American style of this particular flute-like instrument. Quenas have a hollow body that produce sounds when air is blown through it.

Quenas were used by the ancient peruvian Inca culture, and it was made with a variety of materials such as ceramics, bones, wood, and reed.

There are different sizes of quenas that produce different and particular sounds. The dimensions of a quena change the tone that it produces. Small quenas (quenillas) produce a high pitch sound, and big quenas (quenachos) produce low pitch sounds.

Quenillas - High Pitch (They usually start one or two notes above G4)

Length: 10 inches (approx.)

Classic Natural Bamboo Style

Quenas - Standard (The traditional G major quena starting from G4)

Length: 15 inches (approx.)

Brazilian Rosewood and Bone Embouchure

Quenacho - Low tones (They usually in D or middle C)

Length: 22 inches (approx.)

Festival Bamboo Ergonomic Quenacho

Mama-Quena - Bass (Bass quena usually starts from G3)

Length: 29 3/4 inches (approx.)

Classic Bamboo Style - Ergonomic

The most commonly used quena has 15 inches (standard) and it is tuned in the key of G major. This quena is the most popular one in South American folklore music. I usually recommend this model of quena for beginners.

This is the finger position chart for a standard G major quena:

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