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Ney's Structure and Features
Ney's Structure and Features

Ney; is made from a type of gnarled reed called Kargı, which can reach up to 5m in length and 6cm in thickness. The Latin name of this reed is Arundo Donax. This plant, which grows in hot and wet places, is native to the Middle East, the Caucasus and Central Asia. It grows in the Southeastern, Mediterranean and Aegean regions of Turkiye. In addition, a lot of reeds for Ney are collected from Iran, Egypt (around the Nile River), Syria (around the Orontes River) and Cyprus (south and north).

There are three main styles of Ney, known as Turkish Ney, Arabic Ney and Iranian Ney. While Turkish and Arabic Neys have 6 holes in the front and 1 at the back, a total of 7 holes, Iranian Neys have only 6 holes. While Turkish and Arab Neys are similar to each other in terms of pitch and measurement, Si is steeper in Arabic Neys.

While Turkish and Arabic Neys are blown in the same way, Iranian Neys are blown with the combination of lips and teeth, as in the Ney derivatives used in other Turkish societies.

An important part of Turkish Ney that has been added in the last centuries to facilitate blowing is the apparatus called Başpare. Baspares are made from some hardwoods such as Buffalo Horn or Boxwood. It is also made of a type of hard plastic called Delrin, which has become widespread recently. To give the baspare a beautiful appearance, it is also inlaid with amber, ivory and similar precious materials. Some masters even make Başpare from Epoxy mixture. However, Epoxy is a carcinogenic substance and should never be used, even though it gives a nice appearance to your head. Although materials such as normal plastic and PVC are also used in the capital parts of lower quality neys, the first three materials are recommended for a professional. The material used, as well as the reed used, is also effective on Ney prices.

Again, in Turkish Ney, metal rings called Parazvane are placed on the two ends of the reed to prevent damage. Silver, brass or bafon (alpaca) metals are generally preferred for these parazvanes.

In order to give a pleasant appearance to the Ney, its knuckles are also wrapped with silver and similar metal wires called Sarma. Calligraphy or images for decorative purposes are also engraved on the Ney by burning or enamel. As Sinan Söyler Ney Workshop, we are proud to have applied Mother of Pearl Inlay Calligraphy on the Ney for the first time. You can see a specially made Ney sample in the photo, which is created by using calligraphy, carving and mother-of-pearl inlay arts on the Ney, which is itself a handicraft.

Ney Chords and Names
Ney Chords and Names


Ney, which is in various sizes according to its chords, in order to provide the chord according to the general opinion  9 It is made of knotted reeds. What is acceptable is that each of these knuckles is equal to each other, and it is very rare to find such a reed in the reeds. For this reason, Ney makers have to use reeds with unequal knuckle spacing. In this case, while opening the fret holes , they adjust the Ney's tuning at the desired frequencies by using a method called Shifting. For this reason, two works of the same kind will not match each other, and the tuning of the sound depends on the thickness and diameter of the fleshy part of the reed. The masters decide which reed and which tuning Ney will be made according to the knuckle spacing on the reed and the thickness of the reed. Since each reed is of different size and quality, it is impossible for a fixed pattern to be the same for each Ney. For this reason, it is very important that the master who plays the Ney is also a Neyzen. The master who opens the ney can only determine the right chord if he is a neyzen himself. This is why the price of what is in ideal size, tuning and tone is high. 

Features to look for in a professional quality Ney; The reed is bright yellow in color, the surface is smooth, and has dense fibers, it is not very thick or thin, the length of the nodes is as equal as possible and the width of the nodes decreases proportionally from top to bottom. What is thick or thin affects the deepest sound that it can go down and the highest sound that it can go out.​​

Neys get names according to their chords. There are 12 main types of Tam Ney . 7 pieces from short to long and giving full sound  Main Harmony Neys,   5 types and giving half pitch of Main Harmony Neys, Intermediate Harmony ( Mabeyn ) Ney's . In addition to these, there are Nisfiye Neys, which give the treble of 1 octave of both Main Harmony and Intermediate Harmony Neys , and are exactly half the length of the accorded Ney . (Nisf means half in Arabic). Since Nisfiye Neys are half in size, the smallest Nisfiye Ney that can be blown ; Girl is Nisfiye Ney . No less can be done . For this reason , there are 8 Nisfiye Neys . According to this, it is possible to say that there are 20 types of Ney in total according to their chords and lengths  . However, as Transpose can be made, there is no obligation to have all these Ney varieties. The names and sound ranges of these Neys are as in the photo below. The lengths on the template used in the construction of neys are approximate. Depending on the diameter and volume of the straw, these ratios vary between plus and minus. As the ney lengths get longer, it becomes more difficult to obtain sound, to control it, and to allow the fingers to reach the frets easily and move agile. For this reason , medium-upper length Neys such as Mansur Ney or Kız Ney are recommended for a beginner. The person who dominates these neys can easily be successful in shorter neys. Today, Shah Ney is used solo by some master Neyzens, Davud Ney is used very rarely, Davud-Bolahenk Mabeyni   and Bolahenk Neys are almost never used because they are too long.


1761 - 1808  was the sultan of the Ottoman Empire  Sultan Selim III was also a musician, and a good composer whose compositions are played even today. The Sultan, seeing that the Ney chords that were generally performed in the instrument assemblies in his own time were large, that children and women had difficulty in holding them, and that this instrument could not be played among children and women as a result, advised the palace instruments to work on a standard and small size ney pitch system. The girl Ney, whose voice is natural Si, was made. Today, Neyzens generally perform with Mansur, Kız, Yıldız, Müstahsen, Süpürde and Bolahenk Nisfiye Neys.



The equivalents of Turkish Music pitch names in   Western Music are determined according to the harmony of Mansur Ney . Today, Mansur Ney harmony is based on Western music notation and is used while performing Solfeggio. In Turkish Music, frets can be performed at different sound levels (harmonies). Every harmony is named after the type of Ney that performs that harmony. The harmony of the neys is indicated by the Western note that the sound coming out of the frets of La corresponds to the   Mansur Ney based on La tuning   . To put it more clearly:

If you take a Mansur Ney and blow it to the Dügah fret , you will get the note  La from the sound, so Mansur Ney is called  La tuning .

When you pick up a Girl Ney , the sound value coming out of the Dügah fret is La according to the Kız Ney, but this sound corresponds to the sound that gives the note  Si   on the La accorded Mansur Ney. For this reason, we call the Girl Ney a S tuning. 

Likewise, while the sound you get from the Dügah fret with the Süpürde Ney   is the note A on the Süpürde Ney, this sound corresponds to the note Re on the Mansur Ney, so it is called the Ney Re tuning in the Süpür.

Again, if you take a Bolahenk Nisfiye Ney and blow Dügah, that is, La, the sound that comes out will actually coincide with the Mi note on the Mansur Ney, so it is called Bolahenk Nisfiye Ney Mi Tune.

Therefore, in order to adjust the harmony correctly, the sazendes use the phrase "La ver" to each other and adjust their instruments to the appropriate harmony according to the sound they will get from the La fret.

Ney scales - Ney sizes - Ney tunes.png
Differences Between Turkish & Western Music

Differences Between Turkish & Western Music


Many people tried to explain the differences between the Turkish Music sound system and  Western Music sound system. However, in some places these differences have been simplified and explained as if the first act consisted only of Do, La or Re, resulting in a completely wrong perception.

However, Turkish Music consists of 24 unequally spaced voices based on certain Coma Values . So 1 octave is divided into 24 unequal parts . This is a mathematical model based on 53 coma , in which the most suitable sounds are obtained, providing harmonic harmony with each other (proportional-pythagorean harmony) .


As a result of the Tampere system they brought in the last century, Western Music has 12 voices equally spaced in one octave . Tampere system forms the basis of Western Music and all the patterns that do not use coma sounds fall into this system.  For example, the Small Double interval in Western Music is 4 coma in Turkish Music . The Great Binary interval in Western Music is 9 coma. If we give an example; While there is no note between the notes Mi ( E ) and Fa ( F ) in the tampere system , there are 4 more notes   between these two notes in Turkish Music . While an Octave interval ( Octave ) is divided into 12 equal parts in Western Music, as we mentioned above, it is divided into 24 unequal parts in Turkish Music. All of the musical instruments used in Western Music today are produced according to this system. The pitches used here are not proportional but logarithmic to base 2.


Next to the western notes we put numbers at the bottom right, this number indicates the octet to which the note belongs. In some notes , signs such as # , d following it indicate malfunctions: #  mark (approximately) 4/9 of a full pitch ( bakiyye sharp ), d (approximately) a It means flat ( coma flat ) in the measure of 1/9 of the full tone range , and #5 in Geveşt , Mâhûr and Tiz Mâhûr means sharp ( again, sharp) in the measure of 5/9th of a full pitch (again, approximately) . According to the understanding that is widely used today, the unit of measuring faults in Turkish Music is 1/9 of the full pitch and is called " coma ".

Do , Re , Mi , Fa...  nota names were used for the first time in Italy and this is how they were recognized in our country. However , in a number of Western countries, especially the United States of America, notes are also denoted by letters such as C , D , E.


In these two systems, both pitches and pitch numbers are different. For example, it is not mathematically possible to chord a Tanbur and a Guitar . However, a few pitches can produce almost the same sound within acceptable error. This is not actually enough to play together. However, Turkish Music is much richer than Western Music. Yes, unfortunately, when Western Musicians listen to Turkish Music, they perceive faulty sounds as detones, whereas there is no detone. The proof of this comes when you tell a Western Musician to perform an Uşşak Tune piece with a Western instrument . At this point, the following question may come to mind: How come they play the guitar with the bağlama and the piano together in orchestras every day, and we do not understand the dissonance?

Because Turkish Music instruments are produced day by day by adapting them to Western Music instruments. For example, today, the frets of a baglama are produced in such a way as to give 12 sounds in equal intervals, just like the guitar. But in order to sound like the old Turkish system with 24 frets, second sharps and flats are placed between pitch  equally spaced. This is done by interpolation. As a result, we have a new Western style baglama instead of traditional Turkish baglama. Probably many saz are in this situation unfortunately.

KOMALAR ve İşaretleri.png
Use of Fingers and Sounds on Ney

Ney is a rich instrument in terms of performance and technically strong. Making a healthy sound from Ney is the first obstacle a beginner will encounter. After choosing right or left blowing depending on personal choice, it is a skill that must be acquired at the first stage for the Neyzen candidate to find the appropriate lip position and blowing angle according to his / her lip and tooth structure by trial and error and to set this position to make a smooth sound. Therefore, should be focused on the sound of "Neva" (Re / Sol), which is the easiest sound to make, that is, the lowest sound that can be made when all fingers are open. Later, the fingers were gradually closed and towards the Pest (low pitch) "Nim hicaz" (Do diez / Fa diez), "Çargah" (Do / Fa), "Segah" (Si / Mi), "Kürdi" (Si flat / Mi flat), "Dugah"(La / Re) and "Rast" (Sol / Do) should be fitted by blowing continuously, and should be made flawlessly removable in all cases. After this stage, the Neyzen candidate can choose the difficult path and concentrate on the frets called Dem (lovest pitch) voices, which are called "Acem aşiran" downwards, or continue to blow sound by adding high pitched curtains from "Neva".

By closing the holes to a certain extent and turning the blowing angle in or out, intermediate sounds in the 9-comadic system in Turkish Classical Music can be performed.

Ney performance becomes meaningful after eliminating technical difficulties that take an average of two, to four years, depending on the skill of the person. Because a Neyzen candidate who has not overcome technical difficulties cannot be expected to succeed in advanced points such as voice color, musicality, nuances and Ney attitude. Until this process is over, some easy-to-perform works can be studied as studies.

Ney is a fretless instrument like a violin; In other words, it can produce every frequency in between with the finely tuned movements of the breath and fingers. Those who do not good on listening will face difficulties to produce proper frequency efficiently. Therefore it is advised for someone who does not have enough knowledge and skills in music should definitely work under the supervision of an instructor.

Ney is a fretless instrument that can produce intermediate sounds. Therefore, besides Classical Ottoman Music, sound systems of many genres such as Western Music, Popular Music, Jazz Music, and Folk Music can be performed with the Ney. Transposition on Ney is achieved by choosing Neys of different sizes according to the harmony (tone) of the piece or by performing the very difficult lip transposition of the Neyzen. The sound width of the Ney, which is 2.5 octaves on average, can reach up to 3 octaves depending on the mastery of the Neyzen. However, before going into transposition, the sounds should be made exactly and correctly when you blow Ney. On Ney sounds are obtained from the basic sounds called dem ses and their derivatives. The holes, also called curtains, indicate the points where the breath will come out and determine the length of the air column inside the ney. According to the blowing intensity, many sounds are obtained in the order of the same pitch. In the lightest blow, first the sound itself or the basic sound, when blown more intensely, its octave, then the quintet of the previous sound and finally the octave of the same octave form the most used sounds. All the sounds that come out when blown louder than this should be blown upright as a Pythagorean coma will give up. Thus, the sound field, which is two and a half octaves from bass Rast coarse to treble Neva, can be expanded to a point of three octaves. While performing in the Tampere system, methods such as half pressing the frets or changing the lip-baspare angle are applied.

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