Ney is an end-blown flute instrument that is a big part of the Middle Eastern culture. It is been around for thousands of years, making it one of the oldest musical instruments to date. It has been a part of many hymns and been used across all genres of music. It has a unique tone that is a very recognizable sound.
The ney flute has a complex structure and it may seem like a complicated instrument to play, but in reality, it’s not as hard as it seems. It just takes some time to get used to it. To learn how to play the ney instrument, you should figüre out what type of ney you want to play first. There are different types of ney as we will talk about in our article later on.
What is ney flute?
Ney flute is one of the most important instruments in Classic Turkish Music and Islamic Music. The ney instrument has been used in music for years but it got its name from the Ottoman Empire during the formation of Islamic music. The most popular type of Ney flute is the Persian Ney, which has five holes and one on the back. Turkish ney flutes typically have six holes in front and one thumb hole in the back.
The ney flute is made out of reed. Reed is cut and curved by the ney maker in certain months of the year. One of the most popular places for reed in Turkey is Hatay, near the Asi river. The headpiece is called “baspare” and it is the part that separates ney flutes that are made in Middle Eastern and the ones that are made in Turkey, specifically Anatolia. The headpiece is usually made out of buffalo horns and it is placed on the top of the ney flute. Parazvane placed on the most sensitive parts of the ney, the top, and the bottom.
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What are ney flute types?
The ney flute types are listed below:
- Mansur (La – 78 cm)
- Kız (Si – 70 cm)
- Yıldız (Do – 66 cm)
- Müstahsen (Do# - 62 cm)
- Süpürde (Re - 58 cm)
- Bolahenk Nisfiye (Mi – 52 cm)
- Davut (Fa – 95 cm)
- Şah (Sol – 88 cm)
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It is made from a kind of knotty reed called pike. The Latin name of this cane as a species is arundo donax. It grows in the Mediterranean, Aegean and Southeastern Anatolia regions of Turkey. The ney, which is in various sizes according to its chords, consists of nine knuckles. It has 7 holes, six on the top and one on the bottom. These holes are obtained by drilling with a burner. One more hole can be drilled at the bottom so that the Natural Si fret can be played properly.
An important piece added to the ney musical instrument that facilitates blowing is the baspare. Baspare are made from buffalo horn, ivory, some hardwoods such as boxwood, and a type of hard plastic called delrin, which has become popular recently. Although materials such as normal plastic and PVC are also used in the headpieces of lower quality neys, four materials are recommended for a professional.
The most important factors determining the quality of buffalo horn baspare are that the horn is taken from a buffalo that died at the end of its natural life, its structure is tight without cracks and breaks, and it is carefully prepared in accordance with the dimensions and polished correctly.
For a ney to work properly, it must consist of 9 nodes and these nodes must be equal to each other. For this reason, ney makers adjust the tuning of the ney at the desired frequencies by using a method called shifting while opening the fret holes.
Features that should be in a professional Ney musical instrument; The reed should be yellow in color and densely fibrous, not too thick or thin, and the width and length of the nodes should decrease proportionally. Whether the ney instrument is thick or thin can change the state of the sound.
How to play ney flute?
It is normally said that to make sound with ney is very difficult but in reality, if you practice a lot, it is not as hard as it might seem. To play the ney flute, you keep the ney 10 cm far from your lips, your head looks forward. And then you whistle, you close the ney to your lips. The headpiece called baspare covers your lips and you blow to the opened side. Practicing this, again and again, might help those who cannot make a sound with their ney flute. When you make his sound smooth, try it directly by putting your lips. After that, you will be able to play the ney normal keeping position.
If you still can not get a sound from your ney instrument, you should remember that practice makes everything perfect. Take your time with it!
You can also like: https://salamuzik.com/blogs/news/how-to-tune-a-choose-a-turkish-ney