top of page


Ney's History
Ney'in Tarihçesi

Ney: In some Turkish dialects it is called "nai", "nay", "gagri tuiduk" or "karghy tuiduk". It is a wind instrument made of reed reed.  Kaşgarlı Mahmut, in his work entitled Divân-ı Lügati't-Türk, written at the beginning of 11th century, explaining the Turkish culture and language, stated that Ney was used in the "Sagu" ceremonies, that were organized for "Erler", related to death, virtue and pain. "Sagu" ceremonies are also known as "Yug" among Turks. Sagut or Yağut, which were lementations sung in these ceremonies, called today "Ağıt". We can even say "Sagut" or "Yağut" have been brought to the present day as "Avut" when we associate it with the word "Avutmak", which means consoling. Since the sound coming out of Ney is very deep and impressive, we can understand more easily why the Turks blow Ney in these ceremonies.


Ney, thanks to Safavid Turkish dynasty and  Great Seljuk Empire, which ruled in Azerbaijan and Iran, has also spread seriously in Iran and took the name "nâ" or "nay" (reed) in Persian.

Ney, which has spread among Arabs by the influence of Mamluks, Ayyubids, Seljuks and Ottomans, is also named with the word "mizmâr" (meaning windpipe), which is used for almost all Arabic wind instruments.

In Turkey, Azerbaijan and Crimea it has always referred as Ney.

Ney spread to Balkans by Ottoman influence; and called "Ney" by Bosnian, Croatian, Greek, Macedonian and Albanians, "Nai" by Serbs and Bulgarians, and "Nayu" in Romania.


The most primitive form of the ney instrument was first used in history in the Sumerian society. It is thought to have been used since 5000 years.  The oldest ney found is what remains from 3000-2800 BC is what is exhibited in the Philadelphia University Museum in America today. It is thought that the instrument was  used in religious ceremonies in those times.

Arundo Donax Ney Reed.jpg
Sybyzghy Kazak - Altay.png
Tüydük Türkmen.JPG

Kaşgarlı Mahmut , in his work titled Divân-ı Lügati't-Türk, which he wrote at the beginning of the 11th century, describing the Turkish culture and language, Ney was used in the ceremonies called "Sagu", organized for "Erler" (hero, valiant people), describing death, virtue and suffering. transferred it. "Sagu" ceremonies are also known as "Yuğ" in Turks. In the Turkish of the day, we call the elegies consisting of quatrains called Sagut or Yuğut sung in these ceremonies . In fact, when we associate it with the word Consolation, which means to console , we can say that the words "Savutmak " and " Soothing " have been carried to the present day as "Console". Since the sound of the Ney is very impressive, we can understand why the Turks played the Ney in these ceremonies .

Ney was widely spread in Iran thanks to the Safavid Turkish dynasty and the Great Seljuk dynasty , which ruled in Azerbaijan and Iran, and took the name of "" or " Nay " (reed) in Persian. In other words, Anatolia,   Balkans ,   Middle East and North Africa   Ney_7819 Asian instrument , which we call _cc- 7819 3194-bb3b-136bad5cf58d_ It is a Turkish instrument that took its name from Persian while passing through Iran during its journey from North and East Turkistan to reach the western lands.
Ney, which became widespread in Arab society under the influence of Mamluk , Ayyubid , Seljuk and Ottoman , is also named with the word "Mizmar" (meaning windpipe, vocal organ) used for almost all Arabic wind instruments . Turkey , Cyprus Azerbaijan Western Thrace and   Crimean Turkish has always been referred to as Ney. Ney spread and used as far as the Balkans with the Ottoman influence; It is called "Ney" in Bosnian , Croat , Greek , Macedonian and Albanians, " Nai " in Serbs and Bulgarians, and " Nayu " in Romania.

The most primitive form of the ney instrument, which can be considered as the ancestor, was first found in the Sumerian society in BC781905-5cde-3194-bb3b-136bad5cf58d_ who was not Semitic or Aryan and where they came from is still unknown. It is thought to have been used since 5000 years and the oldest ney found in Northern Iraq, BC. What remains from 3000-2800 is exhibited in the Philadelphia University Museum in America today . It is thought that the instrument was generally used in religious ceremonies at that time as well.​​ Besides, the Ney has become a Turkish instrument seen in all Turks from Siberia to the Balkans.

Ney in Sufism
Tasavvuf'ta Ney

Ney has become a symbol of Sufi music. Instead of playing for a musical instrument, the term "blowing" is used for Ney. Blowing here has a figurative meaning. It takes its source from the fact that in Islam, Allah breathed into him when he created man. Another factor that enables one to be affected by this metaphor is; It is the sound of "Hû" when blowing the ney, just like "Tü" sounds when playing the flute and "Ü" sounds for the side flute. Hu means "he" in Arabic and is often uttered glorifying Allah.

As in other Turkish states from the Seljuk period, especially in the Ottoman period, in Tekke and Dergah where everyone was a regular according to their own disposition, thanks to the rosary, dhikr or semah performed in the written field, a Tekke Literature was formed in Turkish Music, accompanied by instruments. The meşks in the rosary, dhikr and semah rites have created an attitude of Takke, and thanks to the progress made in the field of Sufism with the accumulation of centuries, Sufi Music was born alongside Sufi Literature. The ney, on the other hand, has become the main instrument of Sufi Music with the effect of being an instrument used in religious ceremonies since the first periods of its use. For this reason, Ney; Although it is accepted as an ordinary instrument in other societies, it has gained an otherworldly identity in Turkish societies and societies that have been heavily influenced by Turks in terms of religion and culture, and has been associated with religion and mysticism.


Ney Today
Günümüzde Ney

Today, "Ney" is known as Turkish instrument. Translated as English Turkish Flute and German Türkische Flöte, Ney is known in almost all world languages with its Turkish flute equivalents.  

Ney is a primitive instrument… Therefore, it is not possible to situate and describe it in a single theory like flute, clarinet and other later systematized instruments. For this reason, Ney is learned completely and correctly only by working one-on-one with Ney masters through meşk.


Like all other musical instruments, the Ney has evolved. Turkish Neys have been revised in the last century. Kutb-i Nayi Niyazı Sayın is currently 94 years old and has revised his Ney instrument with a pitch shifting system. The current Ney pitch system and measurements belong to Niyazi Sayın.

bottom of page