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.
1 Balang Instruments
1a Neither drum nor lyre
1b Balang lute
1c ED harps in pictorial representations
1d The ED balang sign
1e Features of Balang-harps
2 Balang names and balang-gods
2a Temple-servants, divine and human, in the Ur III period temple of Ningirsu in Girsu, the capital of the province of Lagash
|+||Shul-shaga||Youth of Heart||Butler
|+||Lugal-kurdub||King Mountainland Drubber||Marshal
|–||(Kurshunaburu)||Mountainland Bird in Hand||Vice Marshal
|+||Lugal-sisa||Straight King||Vice Regent
Butler of Bedroom Suite
|+||Kindazi||Good Barber||Valet de Chambre|
|–||En-lulim||Lord Deer||Goat Herd
|–||Ushumgal-kalama||Great Dragon of
|–||Lugal-igi-hush||Wroth-faced King 
|+||7 twins of Baba||–||Handmaidens|
|+||Gishbare||The One Taking out the Plow
|Angel Tax-Collector of
|+||Dimgal Abzu||Great Post of Groundwater||Herald of Steppe Bank|
|+||Lugal||King||Guard of Holy City|
2b No servant-gods in a comprehensive list of food and drink allocations to gods of a temple
Ninshubura, Ninsun, Baba, Nin-Isina, Nin-Kirimasha (“Lady Kidnose”),
Shulpae, Shuzi’ana, Nin-Nibru.
kid in his arms), (former king) + Ishme-Dagan, the three of them,
(former king) + Sin-Iqisham, the four of them.
Pabilsag, Enanun, Ninshenshena, Lulal, Numushda, Ennugi.
2c Balang-harp servant-gods in god-lists
2d Gender of balang-gods
|Masculine Names||Master-god and Gender||Documentation|
|Fierce-faced King||Ningirsu (m)||18|
|Ishbi-Erra Trustee of Enlil||Enlil (m)||40|
|Bull Calf of Sin||Nanna (m)||53 III 51|
|Grand Dragon Nanna||Nanna (m)||53 III 52|
|Judge of Heaven and Earth||Utu (m)||53 III 154|
|Just Judge||Utu (m)||53 III 156|
|Youth of His Mighty Rising||Shamash (m)||53 KAV 64 IV 14|
|Good Man||Ningirsu (m)||53 V 105|
|The One from Before||Ishtaran (m)||53 V 291|
|Feminine Names||Master-god and Gender||Documentation|
|Lady Conversing Grandly with An||Baba (f)||19|
|Lady Occupying the Palace||Gula (f)||24|
|Lady Aruru||Dingirmah (f)||53 II 97|
|Lady Prayer of An||Zarpanitum (f)||53 II 259|
|Festival Lady||Enki (f)||53 II 310–311|
|Eagle Queen||Nin-KI.MAR (f)||53 III 85|
|Cow of His Risen Heart||Shamash (m)||53 IV 13|
|Lady Heaven’s Bolt||Inana (f)||53 IV 74|
|Cow Wealth Praise||Ninsun (f)||53 V 18|
|Great Lady||Gula (f)||53 V 186|
|Lady of Plenty||Gula (f)||53 V 187|
|Lady (ga-ša-an) Aru||Damgalnuna (m)||53 V 315|
The advising function of balang-gods agrees with their gender distribution and the main characters of oratorios. A woman rather than a man is typically the better confidant to console, soothe, and commiserate a goddess, and a male adviser can better deal with the rage of a god.
3 Human Functionaries Exercising the Duties of Balang-gods
3a The Singer
The harpist in the first case consoles with a rational argument; in the second she tells the lamenting goddess to blame herself. Both actions fit an adviser.
4a Sumerian Ontology
The meanings of Sumerian ban3-da include ‘young’ and ‘younger’ as age designations, and ‘junior’ as rank designation. The latter could contrast with Inana’s more important Balang-harp god Ninigizibara. That would be Ninme’urur who is Inana’s other adviser and Balang-harp mentioned next to Ninigizibara in the same text (23). Another meaning of ban3-da is ‘impetuous’, von Soden’s “ungestüm” in AHw s.v. ekdu. An incantation describes a breed bull mounting a cow as ekdu (BAM [Köcher 1963–1980] 3 248 III 19). If that meaning applies, it could hardly refer to the female Ninme’urur.
According to the Late ritual for covering a kettledrum—the instrument that eventually took over the role of the Balang-harp—the spotless black hide of a bull never touched by goad or stick became the drum head and its vibrations on the drum the transformed heartbeat of the killed bull turned kettledrum-god.  I assume that this Late ritual already existed earlier in some form and was applied to the leather covering of musical instruments with bull hide resonators used in cult. The use of bull hides for Balang-harps is attested in administrative records (36, 41, 42b) and the Balang-harp is called a bull (comment to 4g, 21, 49b). Its sound was the transformed bull’s vocalizations.
‘Shining’ is the standard characterization of the sheen of silver and refers here to silver plating the neck of the Balang-harp (see note to 42a).
Gold and silver for decorating Balang-harps is attested (23g, 34c, 42c); lapis lazuli is not. This stone was part of the inlays framing the sound box of ED lyres. The statement ‘my lapis lazuli’ must serve for the time being as sole indication that also the Balang-harp was decorated with lapis lazuli.
There does not appear to be a reasonable linguistic way around understanding ‘my husband’ as describing the relationship of the Balang-harp god with his mistress Inana. This seems to confirm Gabbay’s proposal that Ninigizibara was male, yet the Emesal form gašan for standard Sumerian nin indicates a female (see Section 2d). The context of the lament of Inana is the start of the dry season when her other husband, Dumuzi, departs on his way to eventual death. According to the plot of the oratorio, he was abducted by the same enemy that took her harp. Not many lines after calling Ninigizibara her husband, Inana laments his loss, without calling him her husband, and then the loss of her husband Dumuzi, including in her words the longing for making love with him. The literary form of the lines makes it clear that the status of husband and the wish of making love with him is restricted to Dumuzi (see the comment to 23f). This leaves me doubting the textual tradition. One of the sources writes instead of the expected mu-ud-na-zu (‘your husband’) mu-ud-nu-bi, which is enigmatic and as lectio difficilior the more likely to be authentic.
This expresses the service of the balang servant-god for Inana. 
The word suru designates a priest who is classified as lamenter (gala).  A suru priest and a Balang-harp set up in the city center received beer according to an ED IIIb document (13). Balang-gods of the weather-god Adad are named ‘Great Suru’ and ‘Day of the Suru’ in An:Anum (53 III 260 and 261). By virtue of being a balang servant-god of the male weather-god, the suru should be male, which again favors Gabbay’s argument for the maleness of Ninigizibara.
The last designation identifies the harp servant-god whose name is preceded by the divine determinative.Different aspects that are separated here were explicitly merged elsewhere. The Balang-harp and the corresponding balang servant-god were merged by making a function of the harp-god that of the instrument: ‘his advising instrument’ (niĝ2 ad-gi4-gi4-ni, 17a). The balang servant-god is ‘fashioned’ (23a1). The (neck) of the harp-god is treated with fish-oil (23a2). The grapple-hook and eye of the harp-god is plated with silver (23a3). The harp-god Ninigizibara is ‘set up’ in 47a.
Archaic Uruk IV (before 3000)
Archaic Uruk III (ca. 3000)
Great singer (nar-gal), great balang (balaĝ-gal).
ED I/II (ca. 2700), Text from Ur
List of recipients of kids. The first two recipients received two kids. The name of the second includes the word balang. 
ED IIIa (ca. 2600)
Great singer (nar-gal), great balang (balaĝ-gal).
“Balang-type emarah, balang, Tilmun balang, Mari balang, flute, ? reed, BUR2-type balang.” 
BALAĜ, modified BALAĜ, Harhar, BALAĜ, lyre (ki2-na-ru12). 
“(Sumerian) Harpist (= Akkadian) seer, BALAĜ = lyre.” 
The conventional transliteration of the word for lyre is gi-na-ru12-um. The sign GI was used to write /ki/ elsewhere in Ebla texts, and the Hebrew word, kinnōr begins with /k/. The word na-ṭi3-lu-um has been understood to mean ‘to raise one’s voice’.  In Akkadian, it means ‘to raise one’s eyes, observe’, and at Mari is also as substantive, ‘observer’. An observer (igi-du8) working with the balang instrument, used to control weather-storms, is attested in Ur III texts (29, cf. Section 3c2).
bi2-za-gu3-balaĝ-kar-gir5-za-namušen and u5-bi2-za-gu3-balaĝ-di-kar-gir5-za-namušen
This bird name is written in many different ways. The literal meaning is unclear. One element is ‘balang voice’ (gu3-balaĝ). The unusual length of the name suggests a remarkable bird. Perhaps it is the Eurasian bittern (botaurus stellaris) of the heron family. The large bird is often called a bull or cow because part of the mating call sounds like the bellowing of cattle, for example Hungarian bölömbika ‘bellowing bull’, Spanish avetoro ‘bullbird’, German Rohrbrüller ‘reed bellower’, Kuhreiher ‘cow heron’ and many more bovid designations. The Sumerian expression “its porch of the balang was a princely sounding bull (21)” may refer to the fact that the cover of the soundbox was a bull hide rather than to the actual cattle-like sound. Yet the bovidity of the bittern may also refer to the mock attacks of the bird when it puffs up its considerable plumage, lowering its head, and opening its also considerable beak. 
‘Sound-of-balang’ (ad-balaĝ-ĝa2mušen) is a bird name.
Civil suggests that this is one part of the decomposed name of document 4e.
Pronunciations bu-lu-un and gu-ud/gu2-ud/gu-du of the sign BALAĜ. Selz 1997:195n153 suggested an onomatopoetic ‘blang’ as pronunciation of what is conventionally transliterated as balaĝ. Bu-lu-un may indeed have been pronounced ‘blong’ or similar. Michalowski 2010a:221–222 considers the word gu-ud/gu2-ud/gu-du = gud10 and suggests that the term GUD.BALAĜ could be understood as gudgud10, “possibly an archaizing late creation that has no equivalent in earlier phases of the Sumerian language, and has as such nothing to do with the balag.” I believe the word “bull” was written with the balang sign when it designates a balang-god.
List of professions.
Registers 1–11: “bishop, carpenter, leather worker, jeweler, smith, lapidary, mat weaver, balang-player (balaĝ-di), ‘bull player’ (gu4-di), singer (nar), builder,” etc.; lamenter (gala) not included.
List of recipients of bread, among them Dada, ‘the balang-player man’ (Da-da lu2 balaĝ-di).
List of professions:
“Singer man, festival/song man, balang BUR2 man.” 
Post ED IIIa, provenience unknown
PN1 lamenter, PN2, PN3, PN4, PN5, barley consumers, balang. Distribution of shares. 
ED IIIb (ca. 2500)
The steward Shul-utul-Men brought bread and beer to Nina and to Lagash “when Shasha, wife of Urukagina, king of Lagash, had repositioned the balang in Nina. (Year) 2.” 
List of cereals expended for the major gods of the territory of Lagash, holy places, and a chief lamenter (gala-mah). “(Responsible for the expenditure was) the administrator Puzur-Mama of Shasha, wife of Urukagina, king of Lagash, when the balang carrier was repositioned in Nina. (Year) 3.” 
“The scribe En-ig-gal brought it (fish), when the governor had repositioned the balang carrier. Year 4.” 
A group of seven balangs (see 9) belonged to the temple household of Nin-MAR.KI, city-goddess of Gu’aba.  Expenditures of flour, beer, and fish went to four major and two minor gods; eleven ‘places’ (ki), among them steles and statues; and in last position “the balangs, the seven of them” (balaĝ 7-ba-kam) and two Enki sanctuaries in the countryside.
Baranamtara (wife of Lugalanda, governor of Lagash), while staying at the Abzu of the river bank, offers two rams and a male lamb to Enki of Circle Side and a kid to the sanctuary Antasura on day one, two rams for Enki of Circle Side on day two, and “1 kid for the balang on day three” (1 maš ĝišbalaĝ u4 3-kam).
Expenditures for Shasha (wife of Urukagina, governor of Lagash) on the occasion of the festival of malt-eating of Ningirsu,  among them for the Abzu of Circle Side on day one (IV 3) and the Antasura as well as ‘a new balang’ (balaĝ gibil) on day three (rev. II.1–3).
Record of beer expended to a type of lamentation-priest called Suru (sur9) and for Balang-harps.  “The Suru drank, the Balang set up in city center drank, the Balang set up in Fierce Water drank.” 
Record of use of pine lumber: “One extra large piece of pine for the arch of the gate of the balang.” 
Old Akkadian period (ca. 2350)
List of deficits of fat incurred by priests of several gods, including a certain Namahani for the balang Nin-PA.  Nin-PA, perhaps Nin-gidri (‘Lady Scepter’  ), is not attested as PN. Namahani is probably the lamenter (gala) of TCBI 1 [Pomponio et al. 2006] 99 = P382351.
“Son of Naram-Sin the Strong, Nabi-Ulmash governor of Tutu. Lipush-Ja’um, harpist of Sin, his daughter.” 
“[PN, the female] harpist stayed at the house of female harpists.” 
Ur III period (ca. 2112–2004)
Ušumgal and its Akk. equivalent bašmu designates a monstrous venomous snake that is associated with Marduk and several other gods (Wiggermann 1992:166–169). On the other hand, ‘Great Dragon’ is also an entry of a type of person or profession in line 99 of the archaic list Lu2 A (Englund and Nissen 1993:17). It is a frequent element in Sumerian PNs throughout early Babylonia. A servant-god, the vizier of the Mungoose divinity Nin-kilim, is called ‘Great Dragon’ (An:Anum V 40).
Gudea, governor of the territory of Lagash, was visited in a dream by Ningirsu, city-god of the capital Girsu. The governor went to consult with the goddess Nanshe, a dream interpreter and Ningirsu’s sister. She told him that her brother wanted him to rebuild his temple. Gudea should make Ningirsu a gift of a chariot and “his beloved balang, Great Dragon of the Homeland, the famous lute, the thing that advises him.”  The two presents would keep the god happy during his stay in temporary quarters. 
““Year when the balang Great Dragon of the Homeland was fashioned.” 
“The inauguration of the renovated temple included a review of the twenty-three servant-gods of Ningirsu’s temple household. They passed in line before the seated image of the master-god Ningirsu. Great Dragon of the Homeland was the tenth in line. He is described as Ningirsu’s ‘beloved singer’ (nar), his duties the management of the musical instruments tigi, bringing joy to the courtyard, and spreading a good atmosphere throughout the temple with the help of the musical instruments alĝar and miritum that entertained Ningirsu in his bed chamber Good House (e2-du10-ga). Balang music in the bed chamber of the moon-god Nanna of Ur is attested in line 441 of the OB text Lamentation over the Destruction of Sumer and Ur. 
“Gudea makes his first visit of the renovated temple of Ningirsu:
“The first offering in the renovated temple was an occasion for musical performance: “(Gudea) placed Great Dragon of the Homeland among(?) the tigi, let the ala [a large drum], a storm, roar for Ningirsu.” 
“This administrative record from Girsu, dating from the 25th regnal year of Shulgi, lists expenditures of beer, bread, and soup for households of servant-gods in the “new house of Ningirsu,” among them “the balang Great Dragon of the Homeland.”
“Passing before Ningirsu in line behind Great Dragon of the Homeland (17c) was Fierce-faced King, the second balang in Ningirsu’s household. His duty was pacification of Ningirsu, specifically at his return from victory over the inimical mountain land, which he achieved on behalf of the king of gods Enlil. According to the literary text “The Return of Ninurta to Nippur,” the god’s demeanor and the frightful appearance of his trophies and weapons cause anxiety among the gods as he approaches Nippur (Cooper 1978:26–27). The name ‘Achieving his Triumph’ (dU3-ma-ni sa2-di) of a balang of Ninurta in An:Anum I 269 may refer to his triumph over the mountain land. Fierce-faced King is listed in An:Anum V 97–98 together with Great Dragon of the Homeland as one of five attendants of House Fifty, the temple of Ningirsu.
“Gudea Statue E IV 12–14 (RIME 3/1:44).
“Gudea renovated the temple of Ningirsu’s wife Baba, furnishing it with a seat from which to pronounce her judgments, a treasure chest, and a balang:
“The identity of Ab2-he-nun and Ab-he-nun is confirmed by the association of the latter with lamenters in documents 20a and 20b. Cow of Plenty is probably a harp-god of Nin-KI.MAR. A fairly common PN in Girsu is Ur-(d)Ab-he-nun with (Gomi 1981:183 no. 197 etc.) and without (Snell 1986:205 no. 66 etc.) divine determinative. The genitive is occasionally expressed in writing, for example Ur-ab-he-nun-na in ITT 2 736, and a rare writing of the double genitive Ur-dAb-he-nun-ka ‘Hound-of-Cow-of-Plenty’ in ITT 5 6795. The divinity dAb-ir-nun of ED IIIb Girsu texts may also designate a balang-god. It is associated with the silver up-drum and so are a ‘person’ (lu2) of the silver up-drum and a ‘person’ of dAb-ir-nun, presumably the players of these instruments. The references are treated by Selz 1995:133–134. The name could mean ‘Cow of Princely Aromatic’, which compares well with the balangs named Cedar Aroma (27, 30). Other ‘cow instruments’ are treated in PHG:109–112 where the opinion that these were instruments fashioned with cow hides as opposed to bull hides is rightly rejected (see 36). The name of a balang of Shamash is ‘Cow of his risen heart’ (Ab2-ša3-ila2-na) in An:Anum IV 13.
“Record of expenditure of flour and drink for the deity Cow of Plenty (dAb-he-nun), a courtyard where the instrument was presumably played, an unclear destination, and lamenters (gala-me).
“Record of expenditure of drink for the temple of Nin-KI.MAR, flour and drink for Cow of Plenty (dAb-he-nun), the ‘house Plant of Life’ (e2 u2 nam-ti), and another unclear destination.
“The OB text of the hymn describes in much detail the working of the temple household of Nanshe in Nina during the time of Gudea when it was surely composed.  It includes a description of the New Year festival in Nina. The musical arrangement of the occasion is described in unusual detail. The governor of Lagash in person placed the Balang-harp Cow of Plenty “on, at, among, next to,” or any other location with respect to one or more tigi instruments. The harp occupies here the same place as Great Dragon of the Homeland with respect to tigi (17e). Claves in the form of copper sickles accompany the ‘holy song’ (šir3-ku3) that praises the temple.  Line 45 is probably the song’s incipit, as first lines of praises often start with the verbal na-form.  The chief singer (nar gal) plays the ibex horn. Being the chief implies other singers and instrumentalists playing Cow of Plenty, silver balang, tigi instruments, and claves. (Cow of Plenty shares the second part of its name with the balang of Gula, Lady of Plenty: 40.)
placed the shining balang at its/their side.
While the holy song, a song of harmony, was sung to her,
small copper sickles were praising the house.
The chief singer was playing the ibex horn before her.
‘Has not the temple been granted divine powers?’
he sang about the princely divine powers in the holy song about the house of Sirara.
The dream interpreter brought the first fruits before her. 
“Another function of the Cow of Plenty was to entertain Nanshe, or to relieve her anxiety, as she traveled by boat to visit the god Hendursanga. See also 34b.
“Among descriptions of parts of House Fifty was a porch on which the balang was placed, possibly a shaded elevated platform overlooking a courtyard and close to the gate leading to it.  “Its porch of the balang was a princely-sounding  bull, its courtyard holy prayer, shem and ala (drums).” 
“The city was cleansed in preparation for construction of the temple of Ningirsu. Women were not used as porters during that time, the use of whips was disallowed, mothers barred from striking their children, and balang laments at burials not enacted: “The hoe was not employed at the cemetery of the city, a body was not interred. The lamenter did not set up a balang, did not elicit tears.” 
“Record of expenditures, including beer and bread received by lamenters and harpists, and flour for nine days when a balang was placed ‘over the ghost’(?) at ‘the place of mourning for the king’. 
Ur III period (ca. 2112–2004)
“Ninigizibara is widely attested, in Babylonia in the cities Uruk, Umma, Isin, and Larsa, and on the Middle Euphrates in the cities Mari (see 47) and Tuttul (23g, Durand and Kupper 1985:111). The name of the harp-god was Igizibara in Umma. A lamenter (gala) in Ur III Girsu had the professional name Ur-dIgi-zi-bar-ra (MVN 8 179 I 11). 
““Year when Ibbi-Sin … fashioned the balang Ninigizibara for Inana.” 
“Expenditure of fish-oil for the preservation of divine images, statues, and (the neck of the harp) Igizibara, written with divine determinative.
“Receipt of “9 3/4 shekels of silver for plating the grapple-hook (and) eye of Igizibara.” 
“The beginning of the dry season was celebrated during the first month of the year as withdrawal leading to the ultimate death of the god Dumuzi. The goddess Nin-Gipar, an Inana image in the temple of the city-god of Umma, was brought out ‘to the head-grass (u2-saĝ)’.  In the same month, Nin-Ibgala, the local Inana figure, ‘went’ to the nearby city of Zabala to join lamenting the death of her husband Dumuzi. She was accompanied by her balang Igizibara.
“Food for Nin-Gipar ‘having gone out to the head-grass’, as well as for Nin-Ibgala and Igizibara going to Zabala.
“Expenditures of flour for the temple of the city-god Shara and his wife Ninura; the deity of Ibgal (diĝir Ib-gal), otherwise called ‘Lady of Ibgal’; Ninsigarana, the balang-god of Inana; and a deified musical instrument called ‘Harmony Wood’ (dGiš-ha-mun). While the date in the first month coincides with the time of the journey to Zabala of the previously listed records, the association with Ninsigarana and the absence of the journey to Zabalam indicate a different cultic context. Note also the difference of the name: Igizibara is paired with Nin-gipar in 23b1 and 23c, Ninigizibara with the deity of Ibgal here.
“King Shu-Sin offered in the temple of the city-god Shara small cattle to Shara, Manishtusu—a statue of the divinized former king of Akkad—and Igizibara. The reason for this offering is not given. Perhaps the balang Igizibara was played as part of the cult of the dead Old Akkadian king.
“The fact that the expenditures fall in the same month of two consecutive years means that the two events are not linked with actual inferior and/or superior conjunctions of the planet with the sun. The ‘disappearance place’ would be the ecliptic at the western horizon.
“Small cattle for the Gipar, the sanctuary in the house of Nanaya in Uruk, ‘things of the disappearance place of Nanaya’ (niĝ2 ki-zah3 dNa-na-a), and for Ninigizibara.
“Expenditures of large and small cattle, among them one kid for the ‘house’ of Ninigizibara in Uruk and two kids for the gerrānum-lament of the house of Belat-Suhnir (for gerrānum, see 45).
“dNin-igi-zi-bar-ra, dNin-me-ur4-ur4, dNin-he-nun-na. For Ninhenuna see 42. Here, balang-goddesses of Inana and Gula are grouped together.
VS 2 32 I 11–14 contains the answer of the harpist:
The late version of these lines in the seventeenth tablet of Uru’amma’irabi is treated by Volk 2006. He understands the designation ‘my husband’ (mu-ud-na-mu) as an expression of the close relationship between Inana and Ninigizibara, translating ‘Auserwählter’. Gabbay (PHG:112–113), noting the grammatical male gender of the translated name Ninigizibara in this version, does not exclude understanding this balang-god as male and sexual partner of Inana (see Section 2d).
“Inana is called ga-ša-an Igi-zi-bar-ra in A and ga-ša-an dIgi-zi-bar-ra in B. The reading of A is also found in the Late text MMA 186.11.3509 9a’: ga14-ša-an Igi-zi-bar-ra (Maul 2005:79). The reading in B indicates as meaning ‘lady of Igizibara’, which reflects her relationship as mistress of her servant balang-divinity.
“AUCT 1 (Sigrist 1984b) 969 Drehem Amar-Sin 3 VI = P103814. Record of the royal gift of a silver mirror for the goddess Gula of Umma and silver for her balang Ninegalesi. The name of the balang-goddess refers to the temples of Gula that were called Palaces (e2-gal). The verb si(g) means ‘to fill’, with the direct object of the English verb corresponding to the Sumerian locative-terminative. It is often difficult to know what exactly is meant. Obviously the harp does not literally fill the palace. Perhaps the verb describes here the sound of the instrument that fills the space of the temple. 
“SAT 1 198 Girsu Amar-Sin 1 III = P131307. Record of expenditure of fattened small cattle as offerings, including two fattened kids as offerings for the two balang-gods. An-da-gal-di of the text is short for Nin-an-da-gal-di, attested as balang-god of Baba (19). Variation of the name with and without initial Nin ‘lady’ is also found in case of the name Ninigizibara (23).
“TUT 112, fragment of a large tablet from Girsu, records in IV 11’ expenditure of beer for this balang, and MVN 22 121 of Šulgi 37 XI expenditure of wool. Brunke and Sallaberger 2010:49 give examples for the exceptional use of cedar wood for the manufacture of furniture, but it is unlikely that the long curved and recurved neck of the Balang-harp could have been made of soft cedar wood. The neck could have been treated with cedar-resin (see 23a2). The city-goddess of Gu’aba, another city in the province of Lagash, also had a cedar-resin Balang (30).
“Records from Umma mention an ‘observer’ (igi-du8) as recipient of small cattle for prayer offerings described as ‘having confronted the storm’ (u4-da gaba-ri-a). As pointed out by Sallaberger,  two of these records replace the word u4 with dIškur, the name of the weather-god, confirming that u4 means ‘storm’, not ‘day’, in this context. The confrontations with the weather-god would have typically taken place in spring when thunderstorms form in the area and threaten the barley harvest. The ritual of confrontation was performed in specified field areas. The observer (igi-du8) appears as responsible for the expenditure for balaĝ u4-[da] in the tablet fragment ITT 5 6916 from Girsu. He would have identified which field area was located in the path of an oncoming storm and confronted it with the balang that would calm the weather-god down. Among the balang servant-gods of the weather-god in An:Anum, ‘Storm of the Suru lamenter’, ‘X his Thunder’, or ‘He Roars’ (53 III 261, 263–264) may have been used for the purpose. For a possible link with the Eblaite word for harpist, see 4d.
“The text records the expenditure of beer and flour for the goddess Nin-KI.MAR and ‘cedar-resin Balang, the balang of the storm in the house of Ninmar’ (balaĝ šim-eren balaĝ u4-da ša3 e2 dNin-marki). For another cedar-resin balang see 27.
“The ritual involving this balang took the form of a circumambulation of the temple and the city, as detailed in TCT 1 (Lafont and Yildiz 1989) 796. The circumambulation included offerings at the east and west gates of the Holy City of Girsu, ‘tears’, and remuneration for the actions of lamenter (gala) and observer (igi-du8). The observer would have determined that a storm threatened the entire city of Girsu. If he corresponds to the ‘seer’ in ED Ebla, he played the harp.  The lamenter could have sung a song such as CT 15, 15–16 of the type ‘tears of the drum of Ishkur’ (er2-šem3-ma dIškur), which describes the god as riding a storm that causes his mother Ninlil to take fright and the king of gods, Enlil, to duck. Enlil then acknowledges the power of Ishkur’s thunder, lighting, and hailstones, and asks him to use it against a rebel land. Ishkur obeys, emerges from his temple pacified, his thunderstorm having moved away. According to HLC 23 = P109901, the chief lamenter (gala-mah) Utu-Bara was responsible for flour expended for the Balang-harp.
“The location is the west gate of the Holy City of Girsu (Heimpel 1996:20). The balang appears to be directed against a storm approaching from the west, but not deemed a threat for the entire city. Sallaberger 1993:Tab. 105; Gabbay 2013:236n36 understands igi e2 Unu as a location outside Uruk.
“BPOA 7 1792, Umma, Amar-Sin 6 = P292088.
“Record of expenditures of flour for the “Balang of bathing at the festivals, the three of them” (balaĝ a-tu5-a ezen 3-a-ba). These were the festivals of the fourth, eighth, and eleventh months. Sallaberger 1993:239 demonstrated that the bathing of Shara, the city-god of Umma, was the central cult act of these festivals and that it was associated with ‘heart cooling’ (ša3-te). The latter was effected by a balang, as this newly published text shows. The procedure of bathing a divinity is described by Sallaberger 1993:192: the image in its cella is disrobed, water is poured over it as part of the life-restoring ritual called ‘washing of the mouth’, and the image is then newly clothed. The manipulation of the image brought with it the danger of enraging the divinity, which was counteracted by the sound of the balang.
“Record of offerings for the ghost of king Shu-Sin, netherworld divinities, and ghosts, as well as offerings of kids for the balangs of the moon-god Nanna and Ninsun on day sixteen in Ur (rev. II 10–11), and for the balang of Ninsun again on day seventeen (rev. IV 22’–23’).
“Record of royal offerings of small cattle at the occasion of the harvest festival for the moon-god Nanna, the boat on which Nanna had come from Ur to the festival house Akiti, and for a balang. The balang may have entertained the moon-god and relieved his anxiety on the boat trip. See also 20d.
“A smith receives 1/3 pound 8 ½ shekels minus 15 grains (189.6g) gold for plating a balang of Nanna.
“Receipt, of the administrator of the temple of Ningal, of cream, cheese, raisins, honey, dates for regular offerings (sa2-[du11]), regular monthly cult expenses (niĝ2-dab5), and a bronze balang (balaĝ UD.K[A.BAR]). The record is sealed by the steward in the temple of Ningal, the wife of the city-god in Ur. While the sign for bronze is not fully preserved, there are no easy alternatives. Possibly the ‘bronze balang’ was in fact a kettledrum. 
“TCL 5 5672 V 16 and VI 9 Umma = P131743.
“The text registers two bull hides to be used for the balang of Ninura, the wife of the city-god of Umma.
“The seven balangs of Nin[ ] receive a fattened ram. 
“Record of offerings in Uruk, among them small cattle for the gate of the residence of the En priest (ka2 gi6-par3-ra) of Inana, a balang, and Aratta. Cavigneaux 1998 read aratta (LAM!xKUR.RU), which would mean that there existed in Uruk a physical presence of the city Aratta, the prehistoric antagonist of Uruk. He notes that Aratta is mentioned repeatedly in the oratorio Uru’amma’irabi.
““2 cured hides and 1/3 pound of glue—balang of the chief lukur priestess covered.” 
OB and Late period sources
“The king of Isin dedicates a balang to Enlil in Nippur. Unlike in earlier times, the king’s name appears in the name of the balang instrument.
“Nin-Henuna was the second balang of Gula, city-goddess of Isin, according to An:Anum V 187. She is listed in the OB god-list from Isin together with Nin-me-ur4-ur4 and Nin-igi-zi-bar-ra, the balang-gods of Inana (23e). See Cow of Plenty, Ab(2)-he-nun-na (20).
“A song for Gula under her name Lady of Isin (dNin-Isina) celebrates the rise of the city of Isin to first rank among the cities of Babylonia after the fall of the Ur III kingdom, recounting the city-goddess’s triumphant return from a visit with Enlil who had bestowed on her a good fate for her city. Her husband Pabilsang welcomed her back. The king was there, too, and the music struck up. The returning Lady of Isin was praised and the lamenters pacified the highest ranking gods, An, Enlil, Enki, and Ninmah, perhaps because they were feared to be upset about the move of rule over Babylonia to Isin.
43 … ly intones the holy song, a praise full of love,
44 plays for her the shining up(-drum), the shining balang.
45 Sum. text: The … lamenter rises before her, Nin-Isina,
Akk. text: The lamenters with that prayer to Ninkarak
46 so that An, Enlil, Enki, (and) Ninmah be appeased. 
47 After the exalted lady is made to feel good in her dwelling in Egalmah,
48 the king slaughtered a bull for her, and many rams in addition. 
““5 shekels (3 m2) cured bull-hide (for) peg tooth/teeth/nose/mouth (KA) of the left ‘wood’ of Ninhenuna.” 
“The survivors of catastrophe, sent by Enlil after destruction of his temple, aim to pacify the god’s wrath:
“A passage laments changes in the cult of Nin-Isina, partly in terms of Akkadian words replacing Sumerian ones. The hitherto unexplained Akkadian correspondence of kašbir with ma-zu2-um was recognized by Sallaberger (personal communication).
“One kid hide (for) balang. 
“[ ] li-li-si-im
“The two lines appear to confirm that the harp-god is not identical with the kettledrum.
“‘Oh IllaLUM, Oh IllaLUM’ 1 [(leather)] balang of Sin. ‘The Lord, the … of the Lord in his Land’ 1 incantation song of [Suen], (altogether) 1 (leather) balang and 1 incantation song of Suen.” 
a+45 The foremost city, my foremost balang-porch,
a+46 the house of bitter tears, my house of tears, defiled.
a+47 The Arali, my princely bowl bull,
a+48 the balang-porch, my porch of the princely balang. 
5 The shining gate, my house of ladyship,
6 the outer court, my judgment place,
7 my aurochs-like jostling balang-gate, 
8 my mighty portal of Mullil,
9 my netherworld portal, eye of the land. 
17 my shining up-drum that no one placed,
18 my shining balang that no one played,
19 my shining tambour that gave no sound,
20 my shining meze instrument that did no good. 
“Late text of the penultimate section of an unidentified balang composition (see Maul 1999:297n53; PHG:81–82 and 85). The section has an explanatory character rather than being lyrics of an oratorio:
Akk.: The god [enters] the house in balang (and) prayer.
a+37 Sum.: The lamenter who sang for him <> a song,
Akk.: The lamenters sing songs,
a+38 Sum.: the lamenter who sang for him <> a song of lordship,
Akk.: the lamenters (sing) a song of lordship,
a+39 Sum.: the lamenter (who sang for him) <> a song of balang,
Akk.: The lamenters (sing) a song of balang
a+40 Sum.: (who played for him) the shining up-drum, the shining kettledrum,
Akk.: with the shining up-drum, the shining kettledrum,
a+41 Sum.: (who played for him) tambour, meze, shining balang.
Akk.: [ ] the tambour and meze, shining balang. 
|ĝiš gur2 a2-la2||MIN (= kip-pa-tum) a-le-e||ring of alu drum|
|ĝiš gur2 balaĝ||MIN (= kip-pa-tum) ba-la-an-gi||hoop of Balang-harp|
|ĝiš gur2 dub2-di||MIN (= kip-pa-tum) tim-bu-u2-ti||ring of timbutu instrument.|
|name of balang||translation||master-god|
|I 70||d ĝišĜidri-si-sa2||Just Scepter||Nin-Shubura|
|I 71||dEš-bar-an-na||An’s/Heaven’s Decision||Nin-Shubura|
|I 75||Diĝir-du-ru-na ||Sitting gods||An|
|I 77||dLu2-an-na||Heaven’s/An’s Man||An|
|I 78||dKa-tar-an-na||Heaven’s/An’s Fame||An|
|I 79||dMul-1-iku||One-acre Star||An|
|I 80||dAn-ta-sur-ra||Dropped from Sky||An|
|I 264||dBalaĝ-dEn-lil2||Enlil Balang||[Enlil]|
|I 265||dNin-lil2-da gal-di||Greatly Speaking with Ninlil||[Enlil]|
|I 267||dGu3-du10-ga||Good Voice||[Ninlil]|
|I 268||dUr-dZa-ba4-ba4||Divine Urzababa||Ninurta|
|I 269||dU3-ma-ni-sa2-di||Achieving his Triumph||Ninurta|
|I 270||dU4-gu3-nun-di||… -voiced-Storm||Ninurta|
|I 272||dBalaĝ-e-diri||Excellent through Balang||Nusku|
|I 273||dAd-he-nun||Sound of Plenty||Sadarnuna|
|I 302||dUn-ga-ša6-ga||Good among the People||Nissaba|
|I 303||dHa-mun-an-na||Heaven’s Harmony||Nissaba|
|II 92||dSaĝ šu-ta-šub-šub-ba||Heads-fallen-from-Hands||Dingirmah|
|II 93||dKiri3-zal||… Splendor||Dingirmah|
|II 95||d minGU4.BALAĜ||ditto: Balang Bull||Dingirmah|
|II 96||dE2-kur-eš3-diri||Excellent Sanctuary Ekur||Dingirmah|
|II 97||dNin-A-ru-ru||Lady Aruru||Dingirmah|
|II 99||dŠa3-tur3-nun-ta-e3||Sprung from Princely Womb||Ashgi|
|II 100||dAš-pa4-huš||Fierce …||Panigara|
|II 256||dĜanun-he2-du7||Ornament ganun (room)||Marduk|
|II 257||dEn-nun-daĝal-la||Wide Watch||Marduk|
|II 259||dGašan-šud3-an-na||Lady Heaven’s Prayer||Zarpanitu|
|II 310||dNin-ezen||Festival Lady||Enki|
|II 311||dNin-ezen-balaĝ||Balang Festival Lady||Enki|
|II 316||dUr2-a-ru6||Sister-in-law Lap||Damgalnuna|
|III 50||dUri2ki-kiri3-zal||Splendor (City of) Ur||Nanna|
|III 51||dAmar-dSin||Bull Calf of Sin||Nanna|
|III 52||dNanna-ušum-mah||Grand Dragon Nanna||Nanna|
|III 53||dU4-men-an-na||Heaven’s Crown Day||Nanna|
|III 54||dU4-kiri3-zal-an-na||Heaven’s Splendor Day||Nanna|
|III 55||dU4-e2-zi-an-na||Heaven’s good House Day||Nanna|
|III 56||dAn-na-hi-li-bi/ba||Heaven’s Endearment||Nanna|
|III 59||dNin-da-gal-zu ||Knowing well the Lady||Ningal|
|III 60||dNin-da-mah-di||Grandly speaking with the Lady||Ningal|
|III 85||dEreš-an-zu||Eagle Queen||Nin-MAR.KI|
|III 153||dDu11-ga-na-ga-ti||Let me live by his Word||Utu|
|III 154||dDi-ku5-an-ki||Judge of Sky and Earth||Utu|
|III 155||dEš-bar-an-ki||Decision of Sky and Earth||Utu|
|III 156||dDi-ku5-si-sa2||Just Judge||Utu|
|III 157||dKalam ša3-kuš2-u3||Homeland Consultant||Utu|
|Consultant of the Homeland||Utu|
|IV 12||dA-ša3-ila2-na||Water on his risen heart|
|IV 13||dAb2 ša3-ila2-na||Cow of his risen heart|
|IV 14||dŠul-zi-mah-na||Youth of his mighty raising|
|IV 15||dAd-pa-zi-mah-na||… sound of his mighty raising|
|IV 16||dHa-mun-an-na||Heaven’s Harmony|
|III 260||dSur9-gal||Great Suru ||Adad|
|III 261||dU4-sur9-ra||Day of the Suru||Adad|
|III 262||dUg/piriĝ3-gu3-du10-ga||Panther of Good Voice||Adad|
|III 263||dUr5-ša4-ni [x]||X his Thunder||Adad|
|III 264||dŠeg10 mu-un-gi4-gi4||He Roars||Adad|
|III 265||dKiri3-zal-kalam-ma||Splendor of Homeland||Adad|
|IV 73 ||dNin-igi-zi-[bar-ra]||Well regarded Lady||Inana|
|IV 74||[dNin-si-ĝar-an-na]||[Lady Heaven’s Bolt]||Inana|
|V 17||dKur-gul-gul||Mountainland Destroyer||Lugalbanda|
|V 18 ||dAb2-ar2-he2-en-ĝal2||Cow Wealth Praise||Ninsun|
|V 30||dU6-nir-si-sa2||Just Temple Tower||Lugal-Marada|
|V 31||dŠu-ni-dugud||Heavy his Hand||Lugal-Marada|
|Hero Dragon passing
through the Mountainland
|Hero Dragon passing
through the Mountainland
|Fierce Breast Groundwater
Ocean Zubi (River) Bank
|Dragon of the Outback
Grapple-hook of Eninnu
|Unrelenting his Terror in
|Spoken Words heart-
soothing for his King
|V 105||dNita-zi||Good Man||Ningirsu|
|V 106||dKa-ga-ni zi||Good his Mouth||Ningirsu|
|V 107||dSaĝ šu nu-ba||?||Baba|
|V 109||dNin-[x x)]-na||?||Baba|
|V 186||dNin-gal||Great Lady||Gula|
|V 187||dNin-he-nun-na||Lady of Plenty||Gula|
|V 199||dUp-lum||Louse (Akk.)||Manungal|
|V 200||dMIN-Eh||the same: Louse (Sum.)||Manungal|
|V 279||dUšum-ur-saĝ||Hero Dragon||Tishpak|
|V 291||dQa-ad-ma||The One from Before||Ishtaran|
““The Greater Dada, the man sitting by the harp. May he sing forever of the majesty of the gods!” 
|II 304||dDu-un-ga NAR | diĝir nar-a-ke4 | ilu ša2 na-a-ri|
|II 305||dDu-un-ga SAĜ | MIN | MIN|
|II 306||dGu3-du10-ga-lal3-bi | dam-bi-sal|
|II 307||dLum-ha BALAĜ | diĝir gala-ke4|