Turkish Ney Lessons (Audio Examples)

I decided to move my current audio site for my Turkish ney audio examples, that I give to my students for to learn basic melodies, to a new site. Soundcloud is causing problems! This is not the first time that this giant online companies have blocked me from my own material, but it will be the last, time to get rid of them once and for all. I chose Audiomack and it is a lot easier to use and to “get into”!

So I created a “new page” for the blog, and I intend to add to these recordings as I increase my ney notation usage.

I have been editing my Turkish research recently, collected between 1998-2005, there is a lot of it, and besides the editing and organization, there is a lot of creating too, creating lessons and Powerpoint presentations. The research gives me ideas, and this I can use in lesson plans.

Here is a pay-list of my ney recordings (for students), it is not made for listening, but for to get an idea how a melody goes…it is for beginners, but still the melodies are what you put into them, and you can make them as complicated as you wish.

Playlists: Turkish Ney & Sanat Music

Since teaching Turkish ney again on a regular basis it has allowed me to look at my Turkish research (1998-2005) again more closely. I am re-opening my folders and note books searching for appropriate material to give to students. This is a long process as there is so much “stuff” to shift through.

The majority of the material is notation: photocopies from the conservatoire, books from music shops. I have a lot of the photocopies recorded by my teachers, but the books I do not. So I am in the process of finding these recordings online, and hearing (perhaps for the first time) what the notation sounds like.

I have made a playlist of Ney artists that were recommended to me by my teachers. It is a lineage of musicians which have the “approval” of a certain Turkish tradition (silsila). This means there are different traditions within one musical genre, in this case Turkish Sanat music.

I never realised this before I went to Turkey. I thought it is just music…Bach, Beethoven are individual composers, right? But in Turkey, I learned there was “good and bad” music in Sanat music, and I should “listen to the right” kind of music!

At first I thought this was quite arrogant, who is to say what is good or bad? But now I think it means something different. Following a certain musical tradition is connected to a deeper cultural identity, which is also connected to things beyond music.

So what do you listen to if you are not part of a lineage? Or you don´t have a teacher to tell you what to listen to? Is it ok just to turn on youtube and hear anything? I feel you have to start somewhere, and perhaps this playlist is a “somewhere”.

I tried to put this playlist together for my students, the thing which binds them together is the Turkish ney, Sanat musicians and Ottoman composers. It comprises of ilahi (hymns), instrumental music, secular love songs etc.

They were recommended to me by my teachers (some of the musicians were my teachers at one point), so I have a connection with them. But the list also gives a good idea of ney music too, not only the “taksim” (improvisations), which we hear a lot of, but composed music and how the ney fits in with the orchestra. Some pieces are repeated by different artists to give an idea of different interpretations of the same notation.

I have made a few of these playlists recently, which I will share with you when I have edited them. This one is a general starting point, but in the future it will be more genre specific: books and notation, musicians and composers. Not only Turkish music, but also other genres of music that give an insight into a particular musical genre.

A full track list of the playlist can be found via my youtube site.

Animusic Conference (Aveiro University), Portugal.

The Conference went well. I gave my paper on the Open-ended flute in Iberia. I got some positive feed back from other participants, and made some constructive contacts. A few leads which might lead me to other areas of music inside of Spain and Portugal which can only be positive, but in the question of the open-ended flute inside of Iberia is still in question and probably always will until some concrete evidence emerges of this flute type in Iberian history.
Other ney papers were given at the Conference, Turkish ney was, for me, interesting. But I found their information only related to Turkey. But the Turkish ney is surely more than that, as it was the Ottoman ney, which had its influence as far as Iberia. Also when one hears the styles of pre-1926 neyzens they style of playing is not like the ´mystic´style of one hears today in Turkey. It is more of a Arab style, melismatic; and with influences of Western music with uses of arpeggios etc. Neyzen Tefik can be said to use these influences.
We can not just look at one instrument and give all the credit to one country, no country works in such isolation, especially with a large Empirical Empire like the Ottoman.

The Iberian Ney – Portugal Abstract.

Since there is only a few days to go until I fly off to Porto in Portugal, to give my paper on the “Open-Ended Flute of Iberia”, at the Organology Congress in Aveiro University / A N I M U S I C : Associação Nacional de Instrumentos Musicais / National Association for Musical Instruments – Portugal. I thought to share my Abstract here to post the question “Where has the open-ended flute gone in the Iberian Peninsula?

Commonly known as the Nay, or Kaval (or many other names), I believe it once exisited in Iberia during the occupation by the Moors for over 8 centuries. It is a long time to be under the influence of any power, and one would have thought that such an versatile instument such as this flute type, would have left its mark on the Iberian musical landscape? But, it seems to have completely vanished, except for some Ensembles who are using it in Sephardic and Andalusian recreations, but they are using it with no historical basis, as there is little to find. I think more work needs to be done on this topic, by people who can translate old text documents and find out in what capacity this flute was played and in what music.

“The Iberian Ney: Renewal and Invention”
By Kevin Tilbury

My paper intends to describe the open-ended flute of North Africa and asks the question, “What has happened to the open-ended flute of the Iberian Peninsula?” Since instruments have crossed over from north Africa into the Iberian Peninsular at different periods in history and many of these instruments have survived, flourished, transformed and progressed, I ask why the opened flute, such as the Nai and Qasba, which are evident in north Africa have not survived in Spain and Portugal. There seems to be a lack of evidence present in today’s musical sources.
Yet, the Iberian Peninsular offers an ideal environment, geographically, climatically and musically for this instrument to flourish and adapt and feel at home amongst the music of many regions and styles of Iberia. My own research so far in will show that there is amble interest and source material to resurrect and construct these types of flutes. With interest in Andalus and Sephardic music and various instrument makers constructing and experimenting with old traditional instruments it seems a good time to open the question and hopefully examine why and how the open-ended flute disappeared from the Iberian Peninsular.
Without drawing any final conclusions I hope to open certain areas of research, questions and debate asking why and how the open-ended flute died away and if there is factual evidence to reinvent this instrument back into the Iberian musical landscape.”

Snakes and Reeds

As it was a holiday in Madrid we thought to go and get out into the nature for the day. Our choice of area seemed to be the wrong one as it was heavily industrial with rubbish spoiling the river bank and the river stinking from the chemicals from the nearby factories. This did not stop the wild life from inhabiting the area though, birds and rabbits ran to hide as we walked along the rivers edge. We were walking near to the airport and every 3 minutes planes came over our heads on their way to land. I was getting a little disillusioned as the track came near to the motorway and then it ended with a gate saying “private”. We sat down and ate then headed back the same way.

What interested me was the size of the reed (cane) beds that lined the river bank, and also which grew away from the river and close to the motorway; they grew very big and a few were thick enough to cut , dry and to make open-ended flutes (nai and neys) as well as cane reed flutes.

As we walked along the path we saw a movement a few steps in front of us, a snake slithered down a hole, it was quite large, fat and light green. I am interested in the Gaita de Boto, the gaita from the region of Aragon that sometimes has a snake skin covering the chanter and drone. Green snake skin suddenly came to my mind and how it would fit nicely over my chanter!

I have reeds cut and drying in our flat for about 1 year, they need sized and experimented with to see if they are good enough to make reeds for bagpipes and to make open-ended flutes possibly of an Arabic style (nai) and perhaps a Turkish ney. The reeds near to the motorway were much better than the river bank examples, being away from the river meant they were a lot stronger, I would return and cut them later on and have a supply for a year.

I had collected a few pieces of cane to take home and as we walked I thought what an excellent place to come for  a day out, I can get my musical needs satisfied in one afternoon: snake skin for my chanter and drone, open-ended flutes from the motorway, and drone and chanter reeds from the river bank!
I did not even notice the airplanes any more.