The Ney Diary

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The dates come in the reverse temporal order (the most recent comes first).

The external links may not work. I have no control on them.

February, 10th, 2006

I went to Tunisia with my girlfriend some months ago. We found some neys there. They are different from Turkish ones (no mouth piece, no metal rings), but sound similar.

I also went to Istanbul with my girlfriend. We found a mansur ney (or a shah ney, I don't remember). Unfortunately I am left-handed and it's a right-handed one (the hole for the thumb is too far for the left hand but can be easily reached with the right one). But I play with it sometimes. It's much harder than a kiz ney. The kiz ney is shorter. So the rule is: the longer the ney the harder to play.

The other day, I unfortunately broke my kiz ney and my Tunisian ney by walking on them. I still can play with them, but I feel very sad to have broken them.

All in all, I don't play much with the ney. I don't have much time. You need something like one hour a day and I can't give it. So it's just random playing. My technique cannot improve. Maybe later in my life will I find some time for the ney. Maybe if I move to Turkey and meet real neyzen to share with them...

October, 28th, 2004

My girlfriend went to Turkey this summer and she came back with a method of ney, Ney Metodu by Ahmet Kaya. I am studying with this book (in turkish). I will try to put online some real and accurate information, based on it, when I'll get some time.

February, 8th, 2004

There is an audio sample (508,704 bytes) today. Better than the first one I think.

I still need to work on my breathing. Things are better, but I don't take enough air, I can't hold the note long enough.

I can more or less reach 4 ranges (the lowest is not very stable yet). I think there are 6 of them. What I call a range is a way to blow in the ney. If you keep the same fingering, with various blowing techniques, you get different notes. I think there are (at least) 6 ways to blow (a friend of mine translated from something like that, don't remember well). The 2 that I can't do are the highest ones. It's hard to reach them, because I blow too much (I think) and the sound is too loud, it does not please my ear, so I don't do it much, so I don't progress much.

If you listen to the recording (and forget the bad sound, because of a bad microphone and a bad position of it), you can hear that I don't master things at all. I want this note, and I get that one. My blowing is far from good. But at least, I can make some sound. It's a good start. But I still don't "feel" the music. Work, work, work.

I cleaned the ney with olive oil today again. Once in a week for the first months they say, then once in a month.

February, 6th, 2004

Today, since I couldn't find a complete fingering, I tried a little hack to deduce it. The physics of the ney should be close to the one of a tube, so I must not be too wrong. But I might be. If you are a professional ney player, could you take a look at my fingering and tell me if it is correct or not? ney.pdf (93,783 bytes) is the result of my investigations. ney_fingering.tar.bz2 (59,775 bytes) contains all the sources file to produce the previous file.

I still have troubles with the breathing. I need to work on this.

I now have good low tones, the high register becomes the tricky part. I will work on it.

I still don't "feel" the music, I guess I will need to listen again and again to professional players to feel this music. It's beautiful, but subtle. One must be patient.

February, 2th, 2004

I spent some hours this week-end, improving my playing.

It's not that yet, but it's better. I can get a nice low tone. For the high pitch, I don't know if I reach the maximum or not.

I could produce more or less two tones at the same time. You can produce a tone and the octave below it. Well, more or less. I should record all this one day.

When I play too long, my lips become dry, I often forget to wet them. I should work on it. I should work on the breathing too, I often get too much of oxygen inside because I breath too much, that's not good.

It appears to me that the fingering documentation I have is not complete. I tried this piece, but some notes don't appear in the fingering I have. I will try to find a more accurate and complete fingering.

I cleaned the ney yesterday, with olive oil. I tried it a bit after the cleaning. The sound was easier to come, as far as I can tell (you are supposed to wait a little after the cleaning, I could not respect this delay, so I played for 2 or 3 seconds only).

January, 28th, 2004

It's getting better. I now can almost get a sound as soon as I put my mouth on the ney. Still not very stable, but it's coming.

I have a problem with my tongue. Sometimes I whistle while playing, because the mouth's shape is very similar to the one used to whistle. I try to put my tongue in a way that won't create whistling, but it's hard. When I concentrate on this, I lose the tone.

There is an audio sample (235,032 bytes) for today. It's the first exercise coming from here (link was ok on 2004-01-29, sorry if it is dead when you read this, it's an external link, I have no control on it).

I practiced the ney for something like two hours before the recording. As you can hear, it's not very good, but hey, it's a start.

This page, and the followings (click on "ILERI"), is a good start for the mouth's shape, the body position, etc. It's in turkish, but there are pictures. You can learn with it. It's very good.

I found two good sources for the fingering. 2-basics.pdf, which is very good, and Nay chart.pdf, which gives some tips for different fingerings.

Some tones have various fingerings. I guess I'll have to find the best one for each situation. The key point must be that some fingerings may be better than others to hold the ney.

I think the learning process will require three different steps. One step is to be able to play each tone, and switch to any of them, adding vibrato or any other effects. Another step is to learn the music, since my ear is not familiar with it. This step will require me to play existing pieces. has a lot of them, that's perfect. The third step is to be able to read the music. It is not that hard, you simply have to associate fingerings with the score. But that has to be learned.

So, I have to learn: blowing, fingering, reading.

After that, I'll have to "feel" the instrument, to be able to improvise. In Turkey, they like to improvise a lot. Well, later...

January, 26th, 2004

My first contact with this ney was four days ago, January, 23rd, 2004. It was late at night, I just tried to blow into it. A sound came out, not controlled. I could not reproduce it.

The day after, January 24th 2004, I tried a little. No sound at all.

The day after, January 25th 2004, it was the same. I did not concentrate too much, just experimenting with various positions of the lips and air pressures.

Today, I was able, after two hours of hard work, to find a position close to the one that has to be used for the sound production. I don't master it at all, sometimes there is sound, sometimes not.

My first real disappointment is with the scales. My ear is not trained with them, I think it's out of tune. But I guess it's not. I'll have to learn it and become familiar with it. Humanity is amazing in its creativity, really.

I love the sound of the ney. It can be more or less pure, more or less breathy. The ney is a wonderful pipe.

I guess I'll have some hours of really enjoyable time with the ney.

There is no audio samples for today.

I read this page (in turkish; I have friends for the translation) to help me with the technique, and the like.

(Please, no html, raw text, otherwise your mail might get lost.)

Creation time: Thu, 29 Jan 2004 13:28:40 +0100
Last update: Thu, 10 Apr 2008 10:47:28 +0200

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