ny Introduction


The ny (Farsi for 'reed') is an open-ended, obliquely blown flute known in the Near East since antiquity. It is made out of reed, and played with the pads of the fingers. It has six fingerholes and a thumbhole, and a wide range of over two octaves. Ny-s come in different lengths, each one being tuned to a specific pitch and named after the note produced with the 1st fingerhole open (D4 for the ny used in the demonstration. Lowest note: C4).
It is blown using a unique lip technique called bilabial blowing, with both upper and lower lip used to partially close the end of the bevelled tube. The 2nd and 3rd registers are overblown a fifth and an octave higher than the 1st register respectively. Some of the tone-holes are assigned to certain microtonal steps, although microtonal variations can also be achieved by partially opening a tone-hole, changing the blowing angle, or a combination of the two.
Although the ny carries some pastoral associations, it is considered an urban instrument. It is the only wind instrument used in Arab art music, widely appreciated for its warm, breathy sound and its subtle tonal and dynamic inflections.

Ny - Video demonstration

Video demonstration on the ny by Ali Jihad Racy