All About Neys - Differences Between Neys

The Ney ( Nay, Nai, Nye) is an ancient musical instrument that has been played for 4500-5000 years. Although it is as old as the pyramids in Eygpt; it is still in use. The Ney is made of reed and is an end-blown flute which has a simple, long body with finger holes on it. The name Ney is an ancient word for reed in Persian and is made of piece of reed. 

The oldest finding of this instrument, which is thought to have been used in the Sumerian society since 5000 BC, is the ney that was exhibited at the Phledelphia University Museum in America from the 2800-3000 BC. It is thought that the instrument was used in religious ceremonies in those periods. Another form of ney. It is a double pipe whistle used in China in the 1249s BC. Today, this instrument is still used around Turkestan. 


In terms of structural features, the ney consists of 3 separate parts. These;

1) Kamış (Reed)
The reed used for making ney, grows in hot climates and wetlands. The reed will be determined by the ney producer and cut at certain times of the year. The most preferred reed region in Turkey, it is the shore of the Asi River in Hatay.

2) Baspare
Baspare, it is an important part that distinguishes the ney instrument used in the Middle East countries from the ney instrument used in Anatolia. It is usually made of buffalo horn. But externally, it is also made of materials such as ivory, ebony, boxwood. Makes the sound louder and cleaner.

3) Parazvane
The parazvane is placed in the upper and lower cuts, which are the most delicate parts. In this way, the damage caused by the insertion of the upper head is removed, the lower side is prevented against cracking. It is produced from various metals such as silver and copper.

In addition to these parts, the ney instrument has 7 holes, 6 in front and one in back. The sound emerges from one of these holes and reveals separate notes depending on the intensity of the blow.




Essential Types of Neys 

Neys are mostly connected with Sufism as Mevlana Jalal Al-Din Al-Rumi states in the opening of his famous poem "Mathwani"; 

"Listen to the reed, how it complains and tells a tale of separation pains."

Neys are keyed musical intsruments and are classified as Turkish, Arabic and Persian. Each type has its own system with different hole numbers and playing style. 

The Difference Between Persian, Arabic and Turkish Neys

The body of the Ney is a tube open at both ends. In order to get a sound of it, you need to blow into the tube. Modern Arabic and Turkish Neys have 7 holes. The modern Persian Neys are different and have five or six holes. 

Arabic and Turkish Neys are played the same way. Essential difference of these two, is the existence of başpare. Turkish Neys have başpare (mouthpiece) and putting the mouth on başpare to blow affects the sound. Arabic Neys are made without a başpare although they are essentially the same with Turkish Neys.

The Persian Neys differ from the other two types. They have been adopted to Turkoman inter-dental blowing system in the late 1700's. They have a different başpare and lower placement of thumbhole. This technique of directing the air with the tongue is unique to Persian Neys. 


Turkish Neys

There are different types of Turkish Neys. Each one of them keyed with a note. These are called Davut ( E), Şah (F), Mansur Şah Mabeyni (F#), Mansur (G), Kız Mansur Mabeyni (G#), Kız (A), Yıldız (A#), Müstahsen (B), Süpürde (C), Bolahenk Süpürde Mabeyni (C#), Bolahenk Nısfiye (D). For example, Davut is called an E instrument which means that the second lowest note is an E.

Arabic Neys

Turkish and Arabic Neys are essentially the same. Başpare is the only difference between Arabic and Turkish Neys. There are seven types of Arabic Neys; Kerdene (C), Doga (D), Boussalik (E), Jaharka (F), Nawa (G), Husseini (A) and Ajam (B). 

Persian Neys

Iranian Neys have significant diffrences from the Turkish and Arabic Neys. Persian Neys are made in many sizes and unlike the Turkish Neys, the lower register of it is very strong. Circular breathing is a common technique and the flexible nature of Iranian Neys allows the musicians to play in a large tonal range.




All the Neys at our store are hand made products of excellent craftsmen with affordable prices. Upon the request of customers tailor-made professional neys in all sizes are made by our Ney masters. If you are looking to buy a convenient Ney with a fair value please visit our store in İstanbul or check our online catalogue.

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