Masterful words: Musicianship and ethics in learning the ney

Banu Senay*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Unlike in some recent anthropological writings that show the insignificance of verbal or overt instruction in the process of skill acquisition, talk is, in vital ways, constitutive of the practice of ney (reed flute) learning that I discuss here. What is it about masterful speech that makes it such a compelling vehicle for musical education? To address this question, the article presents a number of key processes that sohbet (or conversation) is designed to facilitate in learners: new skills of hearing and musical understanding; extra-musical sensibilities germane to becoming a skilled ney-player; and communal affections between those participating in the listening act. It is argued that when all of these combine, certain ethical dispositions are fostered in learners' moral selves, enabling new ways of relating to others and to the city.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)524-541
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of the Royal Anthropological Institute
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2015


Dive into the research topics of 'Masterful words: Musicianship and ethics in learning the ney'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this