Ney Labi

Figure 1: The shepherd ney of Bakhtiyari
Figure 2: The shepherd ney of Qashqayei
Figure 3: The ney-e labi
Figure 4: The ney-e labi of the foothills region (Kerman province)
Figure 5: Ali Hafezi, a Bakhtiyari ney player who uses the teeth style of playing the ney
Figure 6: Borzu Tayebipur, a Qashqayei ney player who uses the teeth style of playing the ney

The ney is the most common instrument in traditional societies. It is a very ancient instrument which has been played for several thousands of years. Due to the existence of various ethnicities in Iran, there are more than 30 kinds of ney in Iran with their own specific characteristic. Most regional neys are played by lip. The player puts his lip on the edge of the ney and blows into the pipe. But, in the urban style of playing the ney, the instrument is hold between the teeth of the player. Since the old times, the ney-e labi has been played by shepherds and because of this it is sometimes called the shepherd ney. Sometimes, the ney player inserts his voice into the pipe as well; therefore the ney produces a kind of mixed sound. The ney-e labi is played almost in all parts of Iran. In the recent years, some of the folk musicians have tried to use the urban musical techniques to present a new musical utterance for their old traditions. For example, a new kind of the ney playing style has emerged among the Bakhtiyari ethnicity which is influenced by the urban techniques of playing of the ney, which keeps the ney between the teeth. As a result, the new produced sound has both the folk and Persian urban music flavors.

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