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.
7. Kinnaru of Ugarit
The King and His Musicians
A similar hierarchy is elaborated at 15:16–22, where “the singers Heman, Asaph, and Ethan were to sound bronze cymbals,”  while the more numerous nēbel- and kinnōr-players are said to be “kindred of the second order” (18).  Even if this material is secondary to the traditions about Davidic music in 2 Samuel,  the very peculiarity of the arrangement makes it quite certain that the managerial prominence of cymbalists in I Chronicles perpetuates an ancient regional practice, one form of which was also current at Ugarit. This is confirmed by the archaeological record, with more than twenty actual instruments recovered not only from Ugarit itself, but other LBA sites in Syria, Anatolia, Egypt, the Levant, and Cyprus (n.b.).  It might be suggested that their brazen clash served as a call for attention, ‘clearing the air’ for the sacred songs to follow; or that cymbals were endowed with extra-musical powers, serving as a link between the orchestra and non-musical ritual gestures.  Yet the Chronicler himself describes them as accompanying song, and this is also found in an Ugaritian text to be discussed below. Therefore, whatever other properties cymbals may have possessed, they had a definite musical function. The obvious practical explanation is that cymbals, with a more penetrating sound than the frame-drum, would have provided a fundamental rhythm.  As such, they would be appropriate to an orchestral leader, comparable to a conductor’s baton. And such a position of leadership would naturally go to a person of higher social status than the players under him. 
More about Kinnaru
She took her lyre (knr) in her hand,
[She clasped] the bull-shaped instrument  to her breast.
She sang of the loves of valiant Baal. 
Almost identical verses occur in two other poems concerning Baal and Anat, so that, although in each case the verse where kinnāru is expected has been destroyed, it may be confidently restored. There remains, however, some grammatical and textual uncertainty about whether it is Anat who sings in both cases, rather than a male minstrel.  That the subject is Baal’s loves may tend to support Anat as the more likely performer, being herself female and his lover (and sister). While a female singer praising a king’s deeds of war might seem striking from a Greek perspective,  the Bible attests a women’s tradition of greeting returning warriors, when victorious, with celebratory music—scenes which relate to the pre-monarchic period.  Most of the passages specify only frame-drum, which evidently serves as the principal marker of the women’s tradition;  but those who greet the victory of Saul and David over the Philistines present some greater variety.  Such an event may be portrayed on the famous ivory plaque from Megiddo, dated by stylistic criteria to the thirteenth or early twelfth century BCE (Figure 11 = 4.1p),  if the lyrist who provides a victory song to a seated king, as prisoners are led before him, is indeed female, as some believe (but this is hardly certain).  The birds that flock about may represent the king’s own divine favor, and/or an epiphany evoked by the music.
Cymbals in the Gracious Minstrel’s (n‘m) hands;
Sweet of voice the hero sang
About (before?  ) Baal on the summit of Sapan. 
The word n‘m, variously rendered ‘handsome’, ‘pleasant’, ‘gracious’, or ‘good’, is often applied to gods or heroes.  The present passage, however, is one of several where it seems to have a special musical application. Such an interpretation is made probable here by the evident parallelism of n‘m with ǵzr ṭb ql (‘the youth, good of voice’), and corroborated by the respective verbal phrases ybd wyšr … yšr (‘intoned and sang’ … ‘sang’). (It most naturally follows that there is only one singer, who simultaneously accompanies himself with cymbals: see below.)  N‘m may be applied to another ‘youth of good voice’ who apparently executes some seven-fold cultic song-act in the enigmatic Gracious Gods, a paramythological text of obscure ritual application that many scholars have connected with hierogamy.  We shall see n‘m used of a praise-singer of Baal in the Tale of Aqhat, where it is again the subject of the phrase ybd wyšr (‘intoned and sang’), thus further supporting the idea of a praise-singing type-scene (although in Aqhat the kinnāru is not specified).  It appears, therefore, that n‘m had a specialized application to court- and/or cult-music, approaching the force of a title. This semantic development is often explained by supposing in Ugaritic a convergence of the roots n‘m and nǵm, the latter productive of musical words in Arabic.  This argument was first made by U. Cassuto, who observed the same phenomenon in Biblical Hebrew,  and elegantly explained the resulting semantic duality: n‘m was an epithet of something or someone “who made pleasant [or sweet] the songs, one who composed them with sweetness.”  The most outstanding example, we shall see, is the description of David himself as nĕʿîm, where the Ugaritian examples just discussed provide compelling parallels for understanding him as praise-singer of Yahweh.  In accord with this semantic duality, I have translated n‘m as ‘Gracious Minstrel’, and shall do so consistently below. 
Bow and Lyre in the Tale of Aqhat
Ask for life and I shall give (it) you,
Immortality and I shall bestow it on you …
Like Baal when he is revived, he is served,
(When) he is revived, one serves and gives him drink,
Chants and sings before him—
A Gracious Minstrel (n‘m or n‘m[n  ) [who is?] his servant (?). 
Although a lacuna frustrates exact interpretation of the final line quoted,  the parallels of diction with the second Baal-celebration scene discussed above strongly support those who see in n‘m a reference to the singer rather than the music.  The present passage, therefore, should be considered yet another instance of the type-scene in which Baal is the subject of praise-singing.  One must then ask why the Aqhat-poet has deployed the scene in this secondary context.  Without denying other possible levels of meaning,  I believe that the present passage and other examples of the type-scene must be treated synoptically as a formulaic system; this will reveal specific emphases developed in each case. In the first passage discussed above, Anat lavishes musical attentions on Baal; in the second and third, it is a Gracious Minstrel (n‘m). It is not certain that one arrangement should be preferred as more basic than the other. The majority rule would suggest that it was a Gracious Minstrel, rather than Anat, who was normal. Yet in the third instance (our Aqhat passage), it is Anat herself who conjures the image of minstrelsy. Moreover, details in the sequel seem to implicate Anat once again in music-making.
Rāp’iu and the Eternal Power of Music
May he drink, the god mighty and noble …
Who sings  and makes music (ḏmr)
With lyre (knr) and double-pipe, 
With drum and cymbals,
With ivory clappers  —
With the goodly companions  of Kothar. 
The text goes on to invoke Anat under several names (‘Lady of kingship, / Lady of sovereignty’, etc.) along with other gods, mainly obscure (6–13). A damaged middle section seems to have contained a prayer to Rāp’iu by the king of Ugarit (14–18).  The concluding section refers to some such petition, and states that Rāp’iu will exercise his ‘power’ (ḏmr, 22), ‘might’, ‘paternal care’, and ‘divine splendor’ to ensure that the king will long possess and enjoy these self-same attributes (18–27, with ḏmr repeated at 25). An attractive conjecture, with some basis in the damaged text, is that Rāp’iu is to accomplish this by interceding with Baal on the king’s behalf.  Yet by a curious sleight-of-hand, the actual delivery of these blessings is entrusted to a group called the Rapa’ūma. Verbatim repetition of the list of royal advantages shows that Rāp’iu and Rapa’ūma are essentially equivalent somehow. Evidently, both serve to link the worlds of men and gods.
He who with a loud voice plays the zan(n)aru-instrument, sweet (as) the voice of a calf,
Ninazu, (who hears) the word(s) of prayer. 
Ninazu’s other characteristics, which varied considerably with time and place, include associations with lamentation-singing, dying-and-rising gods like Dumuzi, and perhaps healing. 
Silence of Kinnaru
[… ] peoples, for the Gracious One (n‘m).
[… ] and high is the double-pipe
[… ] PR, for the Gracious One (n‘m). 
Pardee, assuming a connection between these mysterious actions and the king list, posits that the text was a “rite characterized by music in favor of the departed kings. One function of each entry, then, would be to state that the king in question had … joined the Rapa’ūma and become a god.” 
Isaiah and the Lyres of the Rephaim
Your pomp is brought down to Sheol, and the sound of your lyres;
Maggots are the bed beneath you, and worms are your covering. 
Isaiah was clearly familiar with the details of royal ideology going back to the BA in the region: his ‘Rephaim’ are correctly placed in the underworld, their royal status is ongoing, and they are enthroned.  The larger passage parodies a royal dirge both in form and content,  and offers a number of parallels to the funerary ritual for Niqmaddu III discussed above. Common elements include the weeping over, or of, inanimate objects; the rousing of the ‘Rephaim’ to greet the newly deceased; the king’s katábasis; propitiatory sacrifices; and proclamation of the new king. Isaiah systematically perverts this agenda: cedar trees celebrate the hated tyrant’s death; the Rephaim—themselves disempowered—do not welcome him to their company, but meet him with cold disdain; instead of hailing a successor, his sons are to be slaughtered and the royal line eradicated.  Whereas the Rephaim “lie in glory, each in his tomb” (14:18), the “king of Babylon” will not enjoy a proper burial, nor go to a royal resting-place but to the lowest pit (14:15–20): “you are cast out, away from your grave … / … like a corpse trampled underfoot” (14:19).