Woodwind Instruments

The History of the Ney: From Ancient Times to Modern Day


The Ney is a traditional Middle Eastern flute that has been around for thousands of years. Its haunting sound has been captivating people ever since its invention. Today, the Ney is still widely used in Middle Eastern music and has even spread to other parts of the world thanks to globalization.

The Ney’s Origin and Construction of the Ney

The Ney is believed to have originated in Persia around 4,500 years ago. It was initially used as a tool for shepherds to call their flocks. It later evolved into an instrument that was used by Sufi mystics for religious music. Over time, the instrument spread throughout the Middle East and was incorporated into traditional Middle Eastern music. The Ney is typically made from a hollow piece of reed or bamboo, with six finger holes and one thumb hole. The flute is played by blowing into the mouthpiece, which then creates sound as it passes through the hollow chamber inside the instrument. The Ney’s unique sound is created by the player’s embouchure and the way they manipulate their fingers over the flute’s holes.

The Ney in Traditional Middle Eastern Music and in Modern Music

In traditional Middle Eastern music, the Ney is often used to play the melody of a song. It is also used in ensembles alongside other traditional instruments like the Oud, the Qanun, and the Darbuka. The instrument is also used in religious music, such as the Mevlevi Sema ceremony. The Ney is played by both men and women, and it is a common instrument in both secular and religious celebrations. In present-day music, the Ney has become popular in genres like world music and fusion. Its unique sound has caught the attention of musicians all over the world, and it has been incorporated into modern songs and productions. Many contemporary artists use the Ney in their music, including Yanni, Jean-Michel Jarre, and Nitin Sawhney.

Boma Music and the Future of the Ney

Boma Music, a world-renowned music company, has been promoting the Ney as part of its mission to showcase and preserve traditional musical instruments. Boma Music aims to help preserve the cultural heritage of the Middle East and promote the Ney as an essential part of traditional Middle Eastern music.In conclusion, the Ney has a rich history that spans thousands of years. From its origins as a shepherd’s tool to its modern-day use in world music, the Ney has been an important part of Middle Eastern culture. As globalization continues to bring cultures together, the Ney will undoubtedly continue to spread and be heard all over the world.


You may also be interested in: The Turkish Ney and Arabic Neys

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