The Fall and Rise of the Ney: From the Sufi Lodge to the World Stage

Banu Senay*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article traces key changes in the public life of the ney in Turkey, a musical instrument that has had a chequered history in the 90 years since the institution of the Turkish Republic in 1923. Having survived a hostile regime in the single-party period (1923-50), today the ney is in high demand both in Turkey and in the 'global ecumene.' The extraordinary interest in it takes two forms: a striking growth of ney music both live and recorded, and a hunger for ney learning in Turkey's major cities. Although many factors contribute to this interest, in this paper I attribute it to the interplay between artistic developments in the music industry and the recent reinvigoration of Sufism, within which the ney and its practitioners find themselves in a new web of meanings and relationships.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)405-424
Number of pages20
JournalEthnomusicology Forum
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • Ney
  • Turkey
  • Sufism
  • Sufi Music
  • Globalisation
  • WEST


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