Turkish Music Instruments

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




                    Omar Faruk Tekbilek

Zurna is a musical instrument of the wind family, with a reed for generating the voice, and a tubular body with fingerholes like in a flute. The body is of a progressively opening type.

It is the same instrument more or less as sunay in china, shenay in India, tzurnay in Iran, zorna in Greece, zurla in Yugoslavia, bombarde in France, zokra in Tunis, Ghaytah or raita in Morocco mizmar in egypt. zamr in Lebanon and Iraq. It is found all along the bamboo belt of the old world as a folk instrument for the open air. It has been used in the military music during middle ages. You can still hear it played by the "Mehter" bands in historic "Yeni Ceri" soldier clothes performing for tourists in Istanbul. The ceremonial brass bands often in military-like uniforms you see all over the world are internationalized versions of the yeni ceri - mehter bands (Janissar-orkester), probably spread thru France, central europe and Germany

It looks like a wooden trumpet or "carry as you play" version of an alp-horn except for the fingerholes and the reed.

Bagpipes are related to zurna, except that zurna has no bag. The zurna players use their cheeks instead of the bag.

Clarinet and saxaphone are related to zurna, except that these use flat reeds.

Obo/Hautbois is also related but has a slightly different reed. Obo has two reeds leaned agains each other.

The reed of zurna is a cylindrical bamboo pipe thinner than the little finger, where the stiff and shiny glaze is peeled off, the zurna side is attached to a conical metal body, and the mouth side is flattened to a very narrow ellipse. This design requires considerable air pressure on the reed to get any voice, and gives a high volume.





are made almost entirely of wood. The shell (Tekne) is assembled from strips of hardwood called ribs joined edge to edge to form a semi-spherical body for the instrument. The number of ribs traditionally amounts to 17, 21 or 23, yet tanburs with slightly wider and consequently fewer ribs (7, 9 or 11) can also be found among older specimens. Traditionally, thinner strips called fileto are inserted between the ribs for ornamental purposes, but are not obligatory. The most common tonewood veneers used for rib-making are mahogany, flame maple, Persian walnut, Mecca balsamCommiphora gileadensis), Spanish chestnut, Greek juniper, mulberry, Oriental plane, Indian rosewood and apricot. Ribs are assembled on the bottom wedge (tail) and the heel on which the fingerboard is mounted. wood.The soundboard (Gö?üs) is a rotund thin (2.5-3 mm) flat three-, two- or single-piece plate of resonant wood (usually Nordmann, silver or Greek fir). This circular plate measuring about 30 to 35 cm in diameter is mounted on the bottom wedge and the heel with simmering glue and encircled with a wooden ring. A soundhole is either wanting or consists of a very small unornamented opening (mostly in historical specimens), giving the instrument its peculiar satiated sonority.

The neck (Sap) is a mince (only 4-4.5 cm in diameter) 100-110 cm long D-section fingerboard made of light wood and carries catgut frets adjusted to give 36 intervals in an octave. Catgut frets are fixed on the neck by means of minute nails. The main bridge is trapezoidal and mobile, and since the shell lacks braces to support the soundboard, the latter slightly yields in under the bridge. The smaller upper bridge between the pegbox and the neck is traditionally made of bone. The plectrum is made of tortoise shell and is called "ba?a" (meaning turtle). Cut in an asymmetrical V-form and polished at 45° on the tip, it measures 2-2.5 mm x 5-6 mm x10-15 cm. Nowadays it has seven strings. In the past tanburs with eight strings were not uncommon.

 Yayl? tanbur:

The yayl? tanbur is a bowed lute from Turkey. Derived from the older plucked tanbur, it has a long, fretted neck and a round metal or wooden soundbox which is often covered on the playing end with a skin or acrylic head similar to that of a banjo. The instrument is held vertically, with the soundbox resting in the player's lap.

from the wikipedia

Kabak Kemane


Kabak Kemane










Kabak Kemane is a bowed Turkish folk instument. Shows variation according to regions and its form. It is known that instruments known as Kabak, Kemane, Ikl??, Rabab, Hegit at Hatay province, Rubaba in Southeastern Turkey, Kemança in Azerbeijan and G?cak, G?ccek or G?jek among the central Asian Turks allcome from the same origin.











The name kemençe is actually shared by two different stringed instruments, one used in Ottoman music and the other in folk music of the Black Sea region. Until the middle of the 20th century, the first of these was known as the 'armudi' (pear) or 'fasil' kemençe, although these have now given way to the 'classical kemençe.' The second is rather a folk instrument, and is known as the Black Sea kemençe.


Kemence (Clasical)



Kemençe is the common name for two very different instruments, one used in north Anatolian folk music, and the other in Turkish classical music. Names such as "pear-shaped kemençe" and "fasil kemençe" used until the mid-19th century eventually gave way to "classical kemençe."


Page 3 of 4

Facebook: tayyarfolkdancer Facebook Group: 6667428643 LastFM Artist: tayyar akdeniz Linked In Group: tayyar-akdeniz Meet Up: folktours MySpace: folktours Picasa: tayyarfolktour Twitter: tayyarfolktours Vimeo: folktours YouTube: folktours

0 users and 161 guests online


You are here: TURKISH DANCE Turkish Music Instruments