Franklin, John Curtis. 2016. Kinyras: The Divine Lyre. Hellenic Studies Series 70. Washington, DC: Center for Hellenic Studies. http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:hul.ebook:CHS_FranklinJ.Kinyras.2016.
12. Kinyras the Lamenter
Kinyras and His Cult Family
And he, embracing temple steps—his own daughters’ limbs —
Is seen to sob while lying on the stone. 
Although Kinyras does not weep explicitly (n.b.) in any extant Greek author, the very idea depends upon a Greek etymological association of Kinyras with kinȳ́resthai and/or kinyrós—both of which were connected, one way or another, with kinýra in late sources like Eustathios and the lexica.  A key contribution of Ovid, therefore, is to guarantee the antiquity of the etymological complex, which accordingly goes back to his Hellenistic models at the latest. Actually we may be quite sure that the essential associations are much older still. For two persistent themes in the mythology of Kinyras’ children—angered or grieving gods, and metamorphoses into objects or processes of cult—echo far earlier conceptions relating to the professional functions of ritual lamenters in Mesopotamia.
Between Song and Silence
Leaders of dirges (thrḗnōn exárkhous) who [sing] sorrowful song;
They began to sing the dirge (ethrḗneon), and the women added their groans. 
Homer goes on to give us lengthy stylized representations of the góoi of Hekuba, Andromakhe, and Helen,  while the songs of threnodes are left to the imagination. It is grammatically clear that these specialists were male; and aoidoí and exárkhoi indicate that they were probably lyrists.  But the Odyssey’s description of Achilles being mourned by Nereids and Muses, whose performances correspond to góoi and thrênoi, respectively, strongly suggests that threnodes could also be female.  This was true in the Biblical world,  and is supported by Sappho’s Adonis fragments.  It may well also be that the female groups of the Cypro-Phoenician symposium bowls should be related to ‘Adonis’ lamentation in the cult of Astarte/‘Aphrodite’.  Pindar and Simonides, who composed thrênoi, were of course male lyrists, though whether these particular songs were accompanied by the instrument is another question. One of the more informative sources on these points is Lucian’s satirical On Funerals, which, though so much later, is broadly compatible with Homer. Here the ‘expert in dirges’ (thrḗnōn sophistḗn), certainly male, acts as a kind of ‘choral producer’ (khorēgós); he leads with his own songs, drawn from a large repertoire of ‘ancient misfortunes’ (palaiàs symphorás), which were punctuated at certain intervals by the family’s own outbursts.  This scenario agrees with the laments for Hektor, and the Muses’ “alternating threnody with beautiful voice” at Achilles’ funeral.  Thrênoi and góoi were thus an integrated performance; the former were truly musical (mélos in Lucian), drawing on ‘chronic’ mythological repertoire to provide a framework for the expression of ‘acute’ personal grief.
There is a similar musical stipulation in the N-A vassal treaty between the same Mati’el and Assurnerari V (754–745), this time combined with a typical agricultural curse: “may his farmers not sing the harvest song in the fields.”  The knr is not specified, but we must recall Herodotos’ testimony about a kind of seasonal ‘Linos-song’ in the Cypro-Levantine region (see further below).
On the willows there we hung up our lyres …
How could we sing the Lord’s song in a foreign land? 
This lyreless silence responds to the captors’ demand for a “song of Zion.” We have seen other cases of taking over an enemy’s musicians, including the Judaean lyrists given up by Hezekiah to Sennacherib.  Psalm 137 reminds us that such deportations not only provided the victor with musical variety, but denied the vanquished the adornments of peace, power, and (with vassal treaties) fidelity. 
Make sweet melody, sing many songs, that you may be remembered. 
Following the traditional idea, the kingdom’s restoration is heralded by the resumption of the kinnōr (or rather *kinnūr, given the Phoenician context). But the prophet introduces a new inversion of the knr’s royal symbolism by combining it with another conventional motif, the idolatrous city as a ‘harlot’; the royal instrument is thus cast unclean into the streets.  The conflation probably pivots on the use of female lyrists in cult, as we saw in the Cypro-Phoenician symposium bowls. Note too how the prostitute’s embedded song in itself suggests a plaintive mode, as would be appropriate in the repertoire of such a kinyrístria—comfort for her own troubles, and suitable for certain sympotic moods. This intuition is corroborated by the corresponding passage of the Isaiah Targum, one of the Aramaic translations of scripture that emerged during the Second Temple period and incorporated much additional material, both innovative and traditional. This expanded version reads:
While “Turn your lyre to lamentation” might by itself be interpreted as ‘Put down your lyre and lament instead’, this is excluded by the original context, which unambiguously envisions the ‘harlot’ singing to the lyre.
The poet solved a logical conflict that was variously treated in other recensions. How can a piper simultaneously play a dirge and deliver a speech? Ismenias was wrenched from his historical profession, and made to sing his pleas while playing a kinýra alongside other anonymous (!) auletes.  The very violence of this revision shows that kinýra was willfully interpolated as being a true instrument of threnody. And note the strikingly appropriate context: one of lamentation’s essential purposes in the ANE—soothing an angry god—is clearly implied. Ismenias’ petition is effectively an apotropaic version of the city-lament—that ancient genre reflected in literary transmutations from Sumer down to the Biblical Lamentations, and even the Fall of Troy in Greek epic. 
The Cypriot Linos-Song
The antiquity of Egyptian culture is a commonplace of Classical historiography, and Herodotos elsewhere makes Egypt the source of Greek customs of unknown but deep antiquity.  He seems inclined to do so here.  Certainly the historian, and any native informants, rightly regarded lamentation-singing as extremely ancient. Despite Herodotos’ description of the Egyptian, Phoenician, Cypriot, and Greek versions as ‘the same’, his admission of different identities for the lamented subject acknowledges substantial regional variation. Rather than dismiss his comparisons as facile and naïve, we should credit the historian with perceiving significant parallels in what he heard, or heard about—in performance practice, calendrical occasion, aetiological narratives, and so on.
He’s the one all men lament (thrēneûsin) who are
Singers and lyrists (aoidoì kaì kitharistaí), in banquets and choruses (en eilapínais te khoroís te):
Starting and ending by calling out “Linos!” 
“Banquets and choruses” may seem an odd setting for thrênoi, but these were proper not only to festivals but funerary rites.  ‘Starting and ending from Linos’ rings true as a professional and distinctly lyric detail, echoing the epicletic formulas of the Homeric Hymns and confirming that Homer’s threnodes at Hektor’s funeral are indeed male lyrists.  The ascription of Linos-song to “all singers and lyrists” shows that this was a fundamental, ancient repertory item. Hesiod’s universalizing assertion may well imply the same international perspective as Herodotos—an awareness that lyric threnody was a general practice in and beyond the Aegean. Important here is the report that Sappho sang of “Oito-Linos together with Adonis”; this is presumably related to her fragments of lyric lament for the latter, but in any case is early evidence for the threnodic tendency to compile “ancient misfortunes.”  A similarly international outlook probably underlies the mother-son relationship of Ourania-Linos in Hesiod, since ‘Ourania’ is regularly applied to Aphrodite in her Cypriot and NE manifestations, while the Cypriot goddess could be invoked as a kind of Muse in her own right.  Although the attribution of mystical books to Linos (and similar figures) is relatively late,  Linos would not have become the target of forgers without the traditional reputation attested by another Hesiodic fragment, which calls him “learned in all kinds of wisdom.” This recalls the connection between lyrists and wisdom traditions in the ANE. 
Bore the fruit, as sweet as honey, in wickerwork baskets.
A boy in their midst, with clear-sounding lyre, played it
Soulfully, singing for them a lovely Linos-song (línon d’ hypò kalòn áeide)
With elegant voice—while the youths, stamping time all together,
With singing and shouting were following, feet skipping. 
We need not doubt the ancient belief that this scene depicts Linos-song.  True, the setting is not lugubrious. But threnody could be highly stylized and enjoyable outside of actual funerals, on occasions of more holiday humor. Compare the Adonis festival represented by Theokritos, where the ‘lament’ is closer to a concert, and the event much anticipated.  Homer’s harvesters, in one or more choruses, feel a pleasant yearning at the lyrist’s moving performance (himeróen kithárize).  Together they savor the bittersweet of waning light and another year gone—primeval feelings, which, one must concede to Frazer, found widespread poetic and musical expression in ancient agrarian calendars. 
Soulfully, and [sc. as] Linos sang for them
With delicate voice.
Even on the traditional reading, Homer’s description shows that the youthful, delicate-voiced lyrist is somehow enacting Linos. In this circular mimesis the musician, by hymning and invoking his semi-divine counterpart, becomes a theîos aoidós—the ‘godly singer’ who is visited with ‘god-uttered song’ (théspis aoidḗ) through devotion to the appropriate divinity. This musical interface between human and divine was canonically expressed, in Greek tradition, as a patronage relationship with Apollo and/or the Muses.  But the Homeric Hymns show that in practice there was more flexibility, since the deity invoked for inspiration is normally that to whom the hymn itself is addressed. G. Nagy, in a detailed reading of Sappho, has demonstrated much the same relationship with Aphrodite, the poet petitioning her divine patroness for assistance, and being ‘overcome’ in performance by the goddess, with whom she engages in dialogue.  This is precisely what I propose for Linos, Kinyras, and the lyrists who venerated them. Much the same relationship, we saw, was developed for divinized instruments in the ANE, and between the Biblical psalmodists and Yahweh. An important difference, however, is that Linos is dead. He is literally ályros, his music stilled. The performing lyrist makes Linos and his lyre live again, ‘reviving’ an ancient power through the ecstasy of song and dance.
At the start of a lament (arkhàn thrḗnou)—
Alas!—in Asiatic voice, when
Blood of kings is poured to earth by swords—
The iron swords of Hades. 
While the poet’s genius is certainly on display—the ensuing exchange with Orestes is larded with amusing orientalist slurs—the Eunuch’s description of aílinon as the formal “start of a lament” confirms the Hesiodic testimony that threnodes (lyre-singers in the fragment) began and ended by invoking Linos. By the play’s own terms, of course, we are dealing not with stylized, calendrical lament, but one undertaken at a definite moment.  But this too fits with the threnodic use of such “ancient misfortunes.” 
Zenodotos was quite right that the expression, which parallels the Homeric description of epic poetry as “singing and lyre-music,”  was equivalent to thrēnôn. But it alludes to a distinct performance reality with colorful connotations.
Epilogue: The Antinoos Lament from Kourion