Found in: Turkish musical instruments
The Turkish ney reed flute, together with the Turkish tanbur lute and Turkish kemence fiddle are considered the most typical instruments of Classical Turkish music. The ney also plays a primary role in the music of the Mevlevi Sufi rites (sema).
A rim-blown, oblique flute made of reed, the Turkish ney has six finger-holes in front and a thumb-hole in back. Using cross-fingering, finger-hole shading, and embouchure adjustment, the journeyman player can produce any pitch over a two-and-a-half octave range or more. Nearly all Turkish neys have a mouthpiece made of water buffalo horn, or sometimes ivory, ebony, plastic, or similar durable material. Sizes range from the lowest, Davud , to the highest, Bolahenk nisfiye . The low-pitched ah (Shah) ney is shown at right. Note: Pitches in the previous sentence refer to the note generated with all holes closed. In some Turkish musical circles, the "pitch" (akord) of a ney is determined differently, using the note (perde) which matches A=440 (diyapazon). This pitch is one note higher, e.g., Mansur being A/La rather than G/Sol. Note also that the lengths above are approximate.
One refers to a Turkish ney player using the verb uflemek (blow) although for all other instrumentalists one uses the verb calmak (play). One might speculate that the ney's close identification with the Mevlevi Sufis might be the origin of this usage.
The classical Turkish ney's closest relatives in other countries, the Arab nay and the Persian ney, do not use a mouthpiece, but rather blow against the sharpened edge of the tube. In Turkish folk music, one type of ney (dilli)(Tin whistle) has a fipple; the other type (dilsiz) is a rim-blown oblique flute, as is the Turkish classical ney. The Bulgarian kaval, a folk instrument, resembles the Turkish dilsiz folk ney. The Romanian naia panpipe, not a flute may be related etymologically and morphologically.
Noted recent ney players include Niyazi Sayin, Akagunduz Kutbay, Sadreddin Ozcimi and Suleyman Erguner (torun).
Signell, Karl. "Meetings with a remarkable man: Neyzen Akagunduz Kutbay," Festschrift for Robert Garfias (in press)
Tammer, Anthony. "Construction of the Turkish Ney," Turkish Music Quarterly V/4-VI/1 (1993)
Erguner, Suleyman. Ney metod Quarto, 351 pages, b/w, color illustr., 2 CDs. ISBN 975-97801-0-0
Improvisation by Suleyman Erguner on ah ney (excerpt) 00:01:58, 4.7 MB, mp3