Neys are made from the reed plants, which grow abundantly along the banks of the numerous irrigation canals in the Nile Valley. From this very simple plant, the Egyptians (then and now) were/are able to provide an incredible range of tones. No instrument had/has a more incorporeal sound, a sweeter sostenuto, a more heartfelt vibrato. The sounds of the Egyptian ney are produced by blowing through a very small aperture of the lips against the edge of the orifice of the tube, and directing the wind into the tube. By opening and closing the finger holes, the resulting variation changes the length of air in the columns, providing the different pitches. The resulting sounds provide melodies – by steps by leaps, brisk and longing, staccato, legato, in tender pulsations and foamy cascades.
That being said, the Egyptian Kawala also an end-blown cane flute used in Arabic music, is similar to the ney but has six finger holes. The ney has seven including one in the back, the kawala comes in up to nine different sizes, also the kawala holds a different scale and is mainly chromatic, much different to the ney.
For those interested in learning to play or even are ney experts, we offer you exclusively on ArabInstruments neys hand crafted and self signed by Adel Fuad. Adel Fuad is one of the top makers of the ney and many professional artists know his work to be top notch. Don’t be fooled by fakes or brands that produce poor quality sounding instruments, which is why every Adel Fuad ney we sell is signed by him. You can be sure that your set of neys will arrive undamaged as it is encased in a professional protective case.
For more information on the differences between the kawala and the ney, please leave your comments or questions on the blog or email us.