Ney / Kaval


Hamit Golbasi

    Hamit Golbasi

The Turkish ney reed flute, together with the Turkish tanbur lute and Turkish kemençe fiddle are considered the most typical instruments of Classical Turkish music. The ney also plays a primary role in the music of the Mevlevi Sufi rites (semâ). A rim-blown, oblique flute made of reed, the Turkish ney has six finger-holes in front and a thumb-hole in back. Using cross-fingering, finger-hole shading, and embouchure adjustment, the journeyman player can produce any pitch over a two-and-a-half octave range or more. Nearly all Turkish neys have a mouthpiece made of water buffalo horn, or sometimes ivory, ebony, plastic, or similar durable material. Sizes range from the lowest, Davud (in E/mi, 95 cm long), to the highest, Bolahenk n?sfiye (in d/re, 52.5 cm long). The low-pitched ?ah (Shah) ney (in F/fa, 90 cm long) is shown at right. Note: Pitches in the previous sentence refer to the note generated with all holes closed. In some Turkish musical circles, the "pitch" (akord) of a ney is determined differently, using the note (perde) which matches A=440 (diyapazon). This pitch is one note higher, e.g., Mansur being A/La rather than G/Sol. Note also that the lengths above are approximate. One refers to a Turkish ney player using the verb üflemek (blow) although for all other instrumentalists one uses the verb çalmak (play). One might speculate that the ney's close identification with the Mevlevi Sufis might be the origin of this usage.

The classical Turkish ney's closest relatives in other countries, the Arab nay and the Persian ney, do not use a mouthpiece, but rather blow against the sharpened edge of the tube. In Turkish folk music, one type of ney (dilli)(Tin whistle) has a fipple; the other type (dilsiz) is a rim-blown oblique flute, as is the Turkish classical ney. The Bulgarian kaval, a folk instrument, resembles the Turkish dilsiz folk ney. The Romanian nai—a panpipe, not a flute— may be related etymologically and



Kaval is a Turkish folk instrument of the wind type. It is known as the instrument of the shepherds. It is also called Guval and Kuval in different regions. The belief that the shepherd leads his sheep flock with his kaval is a wide spread belief among the people. The word kaval is probably a derivative from the word "kav" which means hollow on the inside.

Its sound range is about 2.5-3 octaves. It is widely used instrument in the folk music groups of today and can be used as a solo instrument within an ensemble. Kaval preserves its sound characteristics when played together with other instruments.

As kavals are not produced to any defined standards what can be said about its dimensions has to be very general. Its length may vary between 30 cm and 80 cm and its diameter is approximately 1.5 cm. It has 7 melody keys on the front and one underneath. Besides these, there are also 4 other keys at the lower section of the instrument called Seytan Deli?i and Hazreti Ali.

Kavals are divided into two main types as Dilli Kaval and Dilsiz Kaval and are generally made from the wood of the plum tree.


 Ney clasess in Folk tours in dance&music camp

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