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Turkey: The Turkish Ney

Various Artists
Turkey: The Turkish Ney

The ney, Persian for “reed,” plays a leading role in the music of the Arab, Persian, and Turkish worlds. Although simple in design, this reed flute can achieve a range of three octaves. Turkish neys are divided into several categories based on length, and are capable of making lower tones than the Arab ney. The meditative style of playing of the Turkish version of the instrument is closely linked to the mystic tradition of the Sufis and to the Mevlevi Order, also known as Whirling Dervishes.

These recordings by Kudsi Erguner, a master of traditional Mevlevi Sufi music, demonstrate the makam melodic scale system and the taksim, virtuosic improvisations of this classical music style. Erguner is a prolific artist who also founded a school in Paris where he teaches Sufi tradition and music. Here, he is accompanied by two of his students on the bendir (a round, wooden percussion instrument with fine skin stretched over one side), an instrument said to invoke the name of God each time it is struck.

This album is part of the UNESCO Collection of Traditional Music. More than 125 albums are being released by Smithsonian Folkways Recordings to make the series publicly available, including a dozen never-released albums of musical traditions from around the globe.

Track Listing

Makam Ferahfeza: Taksim Kudsi Erguner 5:40
Makam Ferahfeza: Pesrev Kudsi Erguner 7:25
Semai Ferahfeza: Taksim Kudsi Erguner 1:27
Semai Ferahfeza: Saz Semaï Kudsi Erguner 7:27
Makam Bayati: Pesrev Kudsi Erguner 7:41
Makam Bayati: Taksim Kudsi Erguner 4:38
Makam Usshak: Saz Semaï Kudsi Erguner 7:11
Makam Usshak: Taksim Kudsi Erguner 2:18
Makam Uzzal: Sirto Kudsi Erguner 7:03
Makam Uzzal: Taksim Kudsi Erguner 10:51
Makam Segah: Taksim Kudsi Erguner 8:17