1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Nay

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[ 318 ]

NAY, or Ney, the long flute of the ancient Egyptians, held obliquely and played by directing the breath, as in the pipes of the syrinx, across the open end, which had no embouchure of any kind. Performers on the nay are represented on many of the frescoes which decorated the tombs at Thebes, their flutes reaching nearly to the ground while they are in the familiar half-kneeling posture. The acoustic principles involved in the production of sound are the same as for the flute. The narrowness of the bore in proportion to the length would facilitate the production of harmonics and so give the nay an extended compass. Victor Loret[1] has compiled a list of all the real pipes of ancient Egypt which have survived, having for the most part been preserved in mummy cases. The nay was not restricted to ancient Egypt, but has remained in general use in various parts of the East until the present day. (K. S.)


  1. “Les Flûtes égyptiennes antiques,” in Journal asiatique, 8ème série, tome xiv. (Pans, 1889).