All About Kawala Instrument

The Kawala musical instrument is known to be one of the oldest instruments known to mankind. It is found in different forms in the Middle East and Central Asia. It is known as the shepherd's instrument in Turkey. One of the purposes of shepherds blowing the flute is to keep animals such as grazing sheep and goats calm and not leave the herd; this tradition is still practiced today.


What is the Kawala Instrument?

Kawal's musical instrument has eight holes. It has eight holes, one at the bottom and seven at the top. There are two types: dilli kawala and dilsiz kawala. Kawala musical instruments have a sound range of 2.5–3 octaves. There is a whistle at the tip of the tongue pipe that produces sound. The mute pipe, on the other hand, is a hollow pipe, and the player produces the desired sound with breathing techniques.

Dilsiz Kawala is similar to Ney in terms of blowing techniques but has important differences. In order to make a sound from the mute tibia, the lips are shaped into the letter U, and the tibia, which is held parallel to the chin, is deflected approximately 45 degrees to the right or left from the facial axis to produce a sound.


Even though it is easier to make a sound with a tongue pipe, it is necessary to use a relatively easy method called snoring, in which the lower and upper jaw bones are also used. Since the pipe, which is very simple in structure, gives great freedom to the breath, very different blowing techniques can be developed.

At the beginning, all the frets of the flute should be left open to obtain sound. Curtains are closed with finger knuckles. Nuances in Kawala are done in different ways. The most common shape in Anatolia is made by swinging the flute from the bottom to the mouth, especially in long tones. Also, nuances can be made in different ways by increasing or decreasing the breathing intensity, shaking the head slightly, and slightly moving the finger on the fret.

History of the Kawla Instrument

Although there are different opinions about the origin of the kawal, it is known that it is one of the oldest instruments of mankind. It is found in different forms in the Middle East and Central Asia. The kawla, which has been known as a "shepherd's instrument" or "whistle" for centuries in our country, has been played in different names and forms in the societies where it spread with the Great Migration.

The kawla musical instrument is primarily associated with mountain shepherds in the Balkans and Anatolia. While in the past it was almost exclusively a shepherd's instrument, it is now widely used in folk songs and dances as part of ensembles or solos.

Main differences between Ney and Kawla

Much like the flute, a very popular flute in traditional Middle Eastern music, the kawala does not have a hole in the back of the ney. Kawala has the basic tonal structure traditional among the Egyptian folk music community and is the basis for many instrumental or vocal folk melodies. 

 You may also like:  What Is Ney Flute? How to Play Ney Flute?


The timbre of the ney musical instrument is slightly different from that of the kaval instrument. Ney is a musical instrument used for religious purposes because it touches the souls of people. The place of the ney musical instrument in Sufi literature is also different. On the other hand, the kaval musical instrument is mostly used by shepherds. The main purpose here is to keep grazing animals such as sheep and goats calm and not leave the herd; this tradition is still practiced today.

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.