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.
Part I: The Cult of Kinnaru
2. Instrument Gods and Musician Kings in Early Mesopotamia: Divinized Instruments
You were created for the wo[rk of the great go]ds …
Your hide and your sinew have been assigned to the mystery of the great gods.
Abide for eternity in the mystery of that god! 
The victim’s heart was extracted, placed in front of the drum, scattered with juniper, and burned. Its skin was removed, treated with flour, beer, wine, fat, alum, and gall-apples, and then applied in many complex steps to a previously prepared drum frame. The rest of the animal was buried.  One of the gods to whom offerings were made was Lumḫa,  whose name is written in some exemplars as ‘Divine Balang’ (dBALAĜ).  Lumḫa himself was therefore a kind of instrument god, his goodwill needed for the new divinized drum.  One should also note the substantial element of seven-magic that underpins the ritual.  On the fifteenth day after the drum’s completion, it was presented to the temple-god. It was now a Divine Lilissu, and could only be played by the priest to whom it was assigned. Through these procedures, as U. Gabbay has convincingly argued, the bull belonged to both the living and the dead. Its ‘heart’ survived in the drum itself, which wore its skin, and continued to beat in the beating of the instrument; this was in turn the beating heart of the god to be soothed through ritual lamentation, when the kalû would imitate the gestures of mourning.  The mechanism was thus sympathetic magic: the kalû enacted the lamenting god(dess), leading his or her heart to release from anger and grief through the performance of mourning.
While there is no obvious connection with ritual in the case of Sharur in Lugal-e, his very existence was grounded in the realia of Ninurta’s cult. The closeness of Sharur’s mythological relationship to his master-god must have depended on the physical proximity of the mace to Ninurta’s statue, which will have been regularly involved in temple rituals. It is likely enough, however, that once such a background was taken for granted, a divinized cult-tool like Sharur could take on a ‘life of his own’ in the minds of singers and storytellers. Similarly the myth of Erra’s seven warrior-weapons presents no overt ritual dimension; yet they are a manifestation of the Divine Heptad, a polymorphous group whose appearance in cult and ritual is otherwise well attested. 
Gudea and the Balang-Gods of Ningirsu
In Cylinder B, this same balang, along with the rest of the god’s accessories, is dedicated in the finished temple—the same event that gave its name to the regnal year. But now the narrative becomes fully mythological as Ningirsu arrives to take up residence. His divine spirit permeates the temple and its sacred parts and contents. Ušumgal-kalama materializes from the balang to be inducted to the office of nar—the ‘musician-singer’ whose repertoire included songs of divine and royal praise.  We are given a clear description of his duties:
This balang-god appears as a kind of musical director for the temple orchestra, responsible for the production of celebratory music in times of peace and good order. I shall return to his larger role in the text below.
Although an exact title is not given, the ‘Red-Eyed Lord’ is clearly a kind of lamentation-priest akin to the gala/kalû.  In aetiological myth, this figure is associated especially with Inanna; Enki created him either to soothe the goddess’s wrath, or to rescue her from the underworld by assuaging its grieving queen Ereškigal.  The gala’s ritual performances could be sung to self-accompaniment, that of another (Heimpel suggests), or together with a chorus.  The several genres of lament used the linguistic mode or register called Emesal, otherwise found of female speech in literary texts and arguably connected with an early tradition of women mourners that was later embraced (co-opted?) by select, ‘male’ lamenters.  This is clearly relevant to certain third-gender qualities long noted for the gala, and that ‘his’ earliest documented function was lamenting at funerals amidst mourning women.  The gala/kalû also imitated, in stylized manner, the gestures of female mourning (prostration, torn clothing, breast-beating).  Institutionalized lamentation was performed both periodically (‘chronic’) and as occasion demanded (‘acute’). Regular laments, scheduled by day, month, or year within a cultic calendar, were either conducted in front of the god’s statue or elsewhere within a temple precinct, depending on the event (including processions to and from sanctuaries).  ‘Occasional’ laments responded to particular situations, and accordingly could be either prophylactic or corrective. Even such a fortunate chance as a royal victory could call for apotropaic lament.  Lament was also prescribed for such potentially dangerous transitions as eclipses and the construction or repair of temples, statues, and cult-objects, including musical instruments.  Lamentation-priests were also needed for repairing temple walls, gates, and even canals, with the place of performance varying as required. 
In the future rituals that are imagined here, as in the earlier balang-rite in which he appealed to Ningirsu, Gudea is the sole visible actor. While this might reflect political posturing vis-à-vis the temple clergy,  it is also consistent with the ideology of the king as a bridge between the human and divine spheres. To all appearances, Gudea will single-handedly supervise the procession of Ušumgal-kalama, and the balang-god will “walk in front.” On the mythological level, this evokes a scene of king and balang-god side-by-side—an epiphany in which the cultic agents necessary for bringing it about are eclipsed, and suggesting a ‘guardian angel’ relationship between Ušumgal-kalama and Gudea, akin to ‘presentation scenes’ on cylinder-seals of the Akkadian and Ur III periods.  But if the scene is imagined on the mundane level, we are still left with Gudea as the leading human agent, escorting his divinized balang at the head of the procession. The two visions suggest a close association between king and balang, perhaps even their identification. Note especially that the king’s duties in the passage just given are strikingly reminiscent of Ušumgal-kalama himself, who is to supervise musical rites of just this sort.
Shulgi and the Royal Ideal of Music
Lovely Lyrics for Inanna
In this vignette—a striking example of seven-magic combined with music (see below)—the king receives musical offerings, the godly honors he enjoys with his goddess wife, here still a maiden, performed by his royal musicians. Yet once again, by the logic of genre, it should actually be Shulgi who—presumably inspired by Inanna, as in Shulgi B—sings about his own musicians. This creates an infinite regrade in which Shulgi embodies the entire musical activity of his court.  Subject and object, performer and recipient, merge in a single musical epiphany.
The passage is valuable for envisioning the participation of actual cult-musicians. As presented, however, they merely echo and amplify the king’s own praises of the goddess. It seems they are to sing the very hymn in which they are themselves so described. Once again, a purposefully circular construction blurs the line between king and musicians, spotlighting the royal performance.
Music and Seven-Magic