Musical Instruments of the Hebrews
Musical Instruments Of The Hebrews The obscurity attaching to this subject has long been felt and complained of. The rabbins themselves know no more of this matter than other commentators who are least acquainted with Jewish affairs. The older writers on the subject had no means of assisting their speculations by examining any representations of the actual instruments in use, either among the Hebrews themselves or in the neighboring nations. But much light has of late been thrown, by the discovery of Egyptian and Assyrian monuments, upon the instruments which were used by these two great peoples the nearest neighbors of the Hebrews, and with whom, at different periods of their history, they came into close and long-continued contact; and we have now the advantage of being able to infer, with a high degree of probability, if not with absolute certainty, from these collateral examples what were the forms and powers of at least the principal instruments referred to in the Hebrew Scriptures. This recent enlargement of our knowledge, however, still leaves much room for further light, especially in regard to the precise instruments intended by particular Hebrew words. There is yet much difference of opinion among Hebrew scholars and antiquarians upon this point of primary importance; and indeed, in the absence of all direct means of identification, and of any clear and steady tradition among the Jews themselves upon the matter, it is hardly to be expected that the obscurity which still encumbers this part of the subject can ever be entirely removed. We see certain instruments different from our own in use among the modern Orientals, and we infer that the Hebrew instruments were probably not unlike these, because the Orientals change but little, and we recognise in them the peoples, and among them the habits and the manners described in the Bible. We find also many instruments presented in the sculptures of Greece and Rome, and we need not refuse to draw inferences from them, for they derived their origin from the East, and the Romans distinctly refer them to Syria (Juvenal, Sat. 3; Livy, Hist. 39:5). When, however, we endeavor to identify with these a particular instrument named by the Hebrews, our difficulty begins, because the Hebrew names are seldom to be recognised in those which they now bear, and because the Scriptures afford us little information respecting the form of the instruments which they mention.
I. Stringed Instruments. — We begin with these, because upon almost all occasions of the use of instrumental music, either in public or private, we find them. occupying the principal place; while in point of antiquity of date they were not inferior apparently to other instruments of a simpler and ruder character chief varieties of this class of instruments may be arranged as follows:
1. The כַּנּוֹר, kinnor, commonly translated in our version harp; in the Sept. κιθάρα; Chald. כַּתרָא; Da 3:5,10, קַיתרוֹס. This is the stringed instrument ascribed to the invention of Jubal, and the only one referred to by Laban in his remonstrance with Jacob (Ge 31:27). It is mentioned among the instruments used by the sons of the prophets in their schools (1Sa 10:5); and it was the favorite instrument of David, of which he became so celebrated a master. In the first ages the kinnor was consecrated to joy and exultation, hence the frequency of its use by David and others in praise of the divine Majesty. It is thought probable that the instrument received some improvements from David (comp. Am 6:5). In bringing back the ark of the covenant (1Ch 16:5), as well as afterwards at the consecration of the Temple, the kinnor was assigned to players of known eminence, chiefly of the family of Jeduthun (1Ch 25:3). Isaiah mentions it as used at festivals along with the nebel; he also describes it as carried round by Bayaderes from town to town (Isa 23:16), and as increasing by its presence the joy of vintage (Isa 24:8). When Jehoshaphat obtained his great victory over the Moabites, the triumphal entry into Jerusalem was accompanied by the nebel and the kinnor (2Ch 20:27-28). The sorrowing Jews of the captivity, far removed from their own land and the shadow of the sanctuary, hung their kinnors upon the willows by the waters of Babylon, and refused to sing the songs of Zion in a strange land (Ps 137:2). Many other passages of similar purport might be adduced in order to fix the uses of an instrument, the name of which occurs so often in the Hebrew Scriptures. They mostly indicate occasions of joy, such as jubilees and festivals. Of the instrument itself the Scripture affords us little further information than that it was composed of the sounding parts of good wood, and furnished with strings. David made it of the berosh wood, or cypress ("fir"); Solomon of the more costly algum (2Sa 6:5; 2Ki 10:12); and (Ge 4:21). The common name for all such instruments in Hebrew is נגַינוֹת (negointh), from a root denoting to strike, like the Greek root ψάλλω, to strike, which yields in like manner ψαλτήριον, with a like general meaning. But in this genus were included a great variety of species of stringed instruments, some of which are of constant occurrence in the Old Testament; while others are limited to those books which belong to the period of the Babylonish captivity, and are to be regarded rather as Babylonian than Hebrew instruments. Keeping this distinction in view, the Josephus mentions some composed of the mixed metal called electrum. He also asserts that it was furnished with ten strings, and played with a plectrum (Ant. 11:12, 3), which however is not understood to imply that it never had any other number of strings, or was always played with the plectrum. David certainly played it with the hand (1Sa 16:23; 1Sa 18:10; 1Sa 19:9), and it was probably used in both ways, according to its size.
Kitto (Pict. Bible, note on Ps 43:4) demurs to its being regarded as a harp, and argues at great length in favor of its being a lyre; the chief difference of these two being that, while in the harp the strings were free on both sides throughout their whole length, in the lyre they were carried in part over the face of the sounding-board, and could in that part of their length only be struck on one side with one of the hands. But it is obvious that a difference of this kind was only a modification of form, and did not involve any essential difference in the principles of construction. The main principle of construction was the same in both instruments, viz. the production of differences of sound by differences in the length of the strings, whatever modifications of form might be used in order to obtain this difference of length, and whatever modifications of size and shape might be called for, when the instrument was to vary in power, and according as it was to be employed either in solo or in choir. The lyre was only a modification of the harp. Even in Greek the words κιθάρα and λύρα were anciently used convertibly, as Dr. Kitto admits; and it is highly improbable that the Hebrew word kinnor did not originally include all instruments of the harp kind, whatever might be their differences in size or shape, or subordinate arrangement. Harps for single use would usually be made portable and light. Those intended for choral performances in the Temple service would probably be made large and powerful, so as to stand upon the ground when played instead of being carried. Some would have a larger, some a smaller number of strings, according to the degree of perfection wanted. In point of fact all these varieties are actually to be found upon the Egyptian monuments, and we see no good reason why the same generic name might not be applied to them all. The most eminent lexicographers are clearly of this mind. While Gesenius defines kinnor to be a species of harp or lyre, and Furst renders it by the single word harp, Winer expresses himself in such a way as to indicate an opinion that the Hebrew instrument so named might be either harp, lyre, or lute. Engel leans to the same opinion as Dr. Kitto, but does not appear to have added anything to the arguments by which the latter has sought to support it. "It is uncertain," he thinks (page 281), "which of the Hebrew names of the stringed instruments occurring in the Bible really designates the harp." Still he thinks also that the kinnor, the favorite instrument of king David, was most likely a lyre; although he owns in another place (page 310) "that the reasons which can be given in support" of this opinion "are certainly far from conclusive." When he urges that the kinnor was a light and very portable instrument; that king David, according to the rabbinic records, used to suspend it during the night over his pillow; and that all its uses mentioned in the Bible are especially applicable to the lyre rather than to the harp-these considerations are all such as have already been fully met in the observations made above; and it is answer enough to them to refer the reader to the accompanying monumental illustrations, which make it plain and certain that the harps of ancient nations were extremely various in size and power, and that some of their varieties were as light and portable as the lyre itself.
The approximate illustrations of the kinnor, or harp, supplied by the Egyptian and Assyrian monuments are very copious and interesting, and we cannot err far in supposing the various modifications of the Hebrew instrument to have been substantially the same as those in use among their neighbors. The most ancient form of the kinnor was probably the bent or curved form. agreeably to the etymology of the name, which according to Furst (Hebsiasches und Chaldaiscees Handworterbuch) is derived from a root signifying to make in the shape of a bow or curve. Egyptian harps of this shape are represented in the first of the accompanying illustrations (page 764), and are remarkable for their differences of size, arrangement, and power, two of the specimens having as many as thirteen strings, one nine, and one only three; while one is light and portable, and the rest so large and heavy as to require to rest on the ground. It was by a natural transition that the curved form gave way in many cases to the triangular, such as we see in our next series of illustrations. Nearly resembling these ancient Egyptian forms of the portable harp is the shape of the ancient Persian chang and the Arabic junk of the present day; and we are disposed to agree with Engel that this triangular instrument is most likely the tirionon, or triangle, mentioned by several classical authors. "Burney," he remarks, "in his History of Music, gives a drawing of a trigonon with ten strings. He observes that it is called by Sophocles a Phrygian instrument, and that a certain musician, of the name of Alexander Alexandrinus, was so admirable a performer upon it, that when exhibiting his skill in Rome he created the greatest furore. Burney further remarks, 'The performer being a native of Alexandria, as his name implies, makes it probable that it was an Egyptian instrument upon which he gained his reputation at Rome' — an opinion which is corroborated by the discovery of the instrument shown in our engraving. The representations, it is true, of the Grecian trigonon, given in our histories of music, exhibit it in the shape of a Greek delta, with three bars. In the Egyptian instruments the third bar, it will be observed, is wanting; but no ancient examples have been produced of the trigonon with three bars, and the representations referred to are probably only imaginary." Perhaps we have a still nearer approximation to the Hebrew harp in the two triangular instruments from the Assyrian sculptures. These harps are of very frequent occurrence on these Oriental monuments, showing that this form of the instrument was a favorite one. One of the two represented on the following page has twenty-one strings, the other has twenty-two strings; and it is a remarkable difference of construction as compared with the Egyptian specimens that the sounding-board forms the upper part of the instrument instead of the lower, while the reader will also observe openings for the escape of the sound. The ancient harp was sometimes played with a plectrum; but in all the Egyptian and Assyrian specimens now given it will be noticed that no plectrum occurs, but the instruments are all played with the hands, as we always figure to ourselves David handling his favorite harp. This Assyrian harp is probably the nearest approximation to the harp of the royal psalmist which we shall ever be able to reach. Remembering that the kinnor is one of the instruments mentioned by Laban as in common use in the country of Aram, we cannot but suppose that the harp which was used by the descendants of Jacob bore a closer resemblance to those which are figured upon the monuments of Mesopotamia than to those of the Egyptian monuments. See HARP.
2. The נֶבֶל, nibel, probably the Greek ναβλίον (νάβλα, νάβλη, ναύλα, or νάβλας) and the Latin nablium (nablum or nabla). The word is rendered " psaltery" in the A.V., in imitation of the Sept. translation of the Psalms and Nehemiah, which renders it by ψαλτήριον, with the exception of ψάλμος in Ps 71:22, and κιθάρα in Ps 81:2. The Septuagint in the other books in which the word occurs renders it by νάβλα or, with a different ending, νάβλον. The Greek rendering ψαλτήριον evidently connects this instrument with the Chaldee פּסִנתּרַין of Da 3:5,7. The first mention of it is in the reign of Saul (1Sa 10:5), and from that time forward we continue to meet with it in the O.T. It is, however, not found in the 2d chapter of Daniel, where mention is made of so many instruments; whence we may infer either that it did not exist among the Babylonians, or was known among them by another name. It was played upon by several persons in the grand procession at the removal of the ark (1Ch 15:16; 1Ch 16:5); and in the final organization of the Temple music it was intrusted to the families of Asaph, Heman, and Jeduthun (1Ch 25:1-7); Asaph, however, was only the overseer of the nebelists, as he himself played on a different instrument. Out of the worship of God it was employed at festivals and for luxurious purposes (Am 6:5). In the manufacture of this instrument a constant increase of splendor was exhibited. The first we meet with were made simply of the wood of the berosh (2Sa 6:5; 1Ch 13:8), others of the rarer algum tree (1Ki 10:12; 2Ch 9:11), and some perhaps of metal (Josephus, Ant. 1:8, 3), unless the last is to be understood of particular parts of the instrument.
The nebel was an instrument apparently much resembling the kinnor in its nature and properties, though considerably different in form. According to Josephus (Ant. 7:12, 13) it had twelve strings, which were played upon with the hand. One variety of it had only ten strings, and was distinguished as נֶבֶֹל עָשׂוֹר; and from an expression in Isa 22:24 — הִנּבָלַים כָּלאּכּלֵי, all manner of nebel instruments — we gather that the instrument, like the harp, was used in various sizes and shapes. What its distinctive form was preserved, no doubt, in the main, in all its varieties cannot be determined with certainty. The etymology of the name, like that of kinnor, suggests a curved shape like that of a leathern bottle; but whether it was so called because the whole instrument was of this shape-like the lyre, which is occasionally described by the Latin poets as the lyra curva — or because only a part of it was thus curved, viz. the sounding-board, as in the lute or guitar, it is impossible to decide. It is here we begin to feel the difficulty before referred to of identifying the Hebrew names with particular instruments. Kitto, as already noticed, pleads strongly for identifying it with the harp, while assigning the name kinnor to the lyre; but ancient authorities are opposed to this view, and he lands himself in the difficulty of being unable to find any Hebrew name at all for the lute or guitar, which he notwithstanding admits to have been in common use along with the lyre and harp. We cannot see, moreover, that anything is gained or any difficulty removed by adopting this opinion. We prefer to leave it a doubtful question whether the nebel was a lyre or a lute, or even some other form of stringed instrument, like that, for example, represented in the above illustration, derived from the Assyrian monuments. The only certain proof we possess of a lyre like instrument having been in use among the Hebrews is the adjoining figure upon a coin of the times of the Maccabees. That either lutes or stringed instruments resembling the Assyrian ones just alluded to were employed by the Hebrews is a matter only of probable inference, from the fact that such instruments were in common use among the neighboring nations; we have no direct proof of it. Examples of lyres of various shapes and capabilities are shown on the monuments of Egypt and Assyria. To these we may add illustrations of Assyrian and Egyptian lutes or guitars. It need only be added that the nebel of Palestine and the East must have had some considerable differences in form and properties from either the classical lyre or lute, as it was known and distinguished among the Greeks and Romans by its Oriental name, which the Greeks slightly altered into νάβλα or νάβλιον, and the Romans into nablium. SEE PSALTERY.
3. The סִבּכָא, sabbeka, or "sackbut" of our version, is the third instrument in the list in Da 3:5,7. That this was a stringed instrument is certain, for the name passed over into Greek and Latin in the forms σαμβύκη and sambuca; female performers on it from the East, called σαμβύκαι, santbucince, and sambucistrice by the classical authors, visited the cities of Europe, and found their way as far as Rome; and the instrument is described by Athenaeus (4:175; 14:633) as a harp-like instrument of four or more strings, and of a triangular form. Now it is remarkable that one of the musical instruments most frequently occurring in the Assyrian sculptures answers very closely to this description. On comparing the instrument here represented with that exhibited in the procession above, a difference of structure will be observed, viz. that in the latter the strings seem to be carried over a bridge, which is not the case with the former. In other respects the two forms are exactly the same; and the instrument was evidently a peculiarly Assyrian one, as there is nothing resembling it to be found on the Egyptian monuments or in the sculptures of Greece and Rome. This appears to us a decisive consideration in favor of identifying it with the sackbut of Da 3:5, rather than with the סוּמפֹּנַוָּה (symphonia) of the same list, the word translated dulcimer in our version.
This latter name is evidently borrowed from the Greek, and as such was no doubt the name of a Greek and not a native instrument; whereas the name and the nature of the sackbut were both probably Oriental, as the instrument figured in these Assyrian sculptures indubitably was. What the synmphonia itself was it is impossible to say. It is worth mentioning that one of the musicians performing upon what we thus presume to have been the sackbut, is distinguished from the rest by a peculiar headdress, which may probably have been a mark of distinction assigned to "the chief of the musicians" at the Assyrian court, an officer who was the counter-part of the Hebrew מנִצֵּח, such as Asaph or Jeduthun. SEE SACKBUT.
4. The גַּתַּית, gittith, a word which occurs in the titles to Ps 8; Ps 81; Ps 84, and is generally supposed to denote a musical instrument. From the name it has been supposed to be an instrument which David brought from Gath; and it has been inferred from Isa 16:10 that it was in particular use at the vintage season. If an instrument of music, it is remarkable that it does not occur in the list of the instruments assigned by David to the Temple musicians; nor even in that list which appears in verses 1 and 2 of Psalm 81, in the title of which it is found. The supposition of Gesenius, that it is a general name for a stringed instrument, obviates this difficulty. The Sept. renders the title by ὑπὲρ τῶν ληνῶν, "upon the wine-press;" and Carpzov, Pfeiffer, and others/ follow this in taking the word to denote a song composed for the vintage or for the Feast of Tabernacles (Carpzov, Observ. Philol. super Psalmos Tres עִלאּהִגַּתּית [Helmst. 1758]; Pfeiffer, Ueber die Musik, page 32). SEE GITTITH.
5. מַנַּים. minnim, which occurs in Ps 45:8; Ps 150:4, is supposed by some to denote a stringed instrument, but it seems merely a poetical allusion to the strings of any instrument. Thus in Ps 45:8 we would read, "Out of the ivory palaces the strings (i.e., concerts of music) have made thee glad;" and so in Ps 150:4, "Praise him with strings (stringed instruments) and ugabs." SEE STRING.
6. מִחֲלִת, machalath, which occurs in the titles of Ps 53; Ps 88, is supposed by Gesenius and others to denote a kind of lute or guitar, which instrument others find in the minnim above noticed. The prevalence in the East of instruments of this sort would alone suggest the probability that the Jews were not without them; and this probability is greatly increased by the evidence which the Egyptian paintings offer that they were equally prevalent in ancient times in neighboring nations. The Egyptian guitar consisted of two parts: a long, flat neck or handle, and a hollow, oval body, composed wholly of wood, or covered with leather, whose upper surface was perforated with several holes to allow the sound to escape; over this body, and the whole length of the handle, extended three strings of catgut secured at the upper extremity. The length of the handle was sometimes twice, sometimes thrice that of the body, and the whole instrument seems to have measured three or four feet. It was struck with a plectrum, and the performers usually stood as they played. Both men and women used the guitar; some danced while they touched its strings (Wilkinson, Anc. Eg. 1:84-86, 123-125). SEE MAHALATH.
II. Wind Instruments. —
1. The most ancient of these was the עוּגָב, ugab, mentioned along with the kinner as the invention of Jubal (Ge 4:21). It is twice alluded to (Job 21:12; Job 30:31), and in both cases in collections which show that it was used on occasions of domestic festivity and joy. The only other place where it occurs is in Ps 150:4, where it is referred to among other instruments suitable to be employed in the praises of God. Opinion has been, and is still, much divided as to the instrument denoted by the name. Winer and Leyrer (in Herzog's Real-Encyklopadie) favor the idea that it was a species of bagpipe; and in this view they are supported by the authority of Jerome, the Targums (אֲגוּבָא), and some rabbinical writers. The Septuagint varies in its translation of the word; in Genesis rendering it by κιθάρα, in Job by ψαλμός, and in Psalm 150 by ὄργανον, the term adopted by the Vulgate, Syriac, Arabic, and most other versions, as well as by our own. But by ὄργανον we are by no means to understand the organ,
which is an instrument of no great antiquity. even if we are to suppose, as some do, that there was a rudiment of the modern organ in use in the Temple of Jerusalem in the time of Christ, an invention of which strange and evidently fabulous things are told us by the Talmud, under the name of the מִגרֵיפָה (nagrephah). The organum meant by the word was as old as the days of Jubal; it must, therefore, have been of a rude and simple construction, and is best understood of the so-called Pandean pipe, formed by a combination of reed-pipes of different lengths and thicknesses. In support of this view is the fact that the Pandean pipe was an instrument of Syrian or Oriental origin, and that it was of such high antiquity that the profane writers do not know to whom to ascribe it. Some refer it to Pan (Virgil, Ecl. 2), others to Mercury (Pind. Od. 12, de Pallade), others to Marsyas and Silenus (Athenaeus, 4:182). This antiquity corresponds with the Scriptural intimation concerning the ugab, and justifies us in seeking for it among the more ancient instruments of the Orientals, especially as it is still common in Western Asia. Niebuhr saw it in the hands of a peasant at Cairo (Reisebeschr. 1:181); and Russell, in his Nat. Hist. of Aleppo (1:155, 156), says that "the syrinx or Pan's pipe is still a festival instrument in Syria; it is known also in the city, but very few performers can sound it tolerably well. The higher notes are clear and pleasing, but the longer reeds are apt, like the dervise flute, to make a hissing sound, though blown by a good player. The number of reeds of which the syrinx is composed varies in different instruments from five to twenty-three." The classical syrinx is usually said to have had seven reeds (Virg. Ecl. 2); but we find some on the monuments with a greater number, and the shepherd of Theocritus (Id. 8) had one of nine reeds. SEE ORGAN.
2. Of almost equal antiquity was the קֶרֶן, keren, or horn, which sometimes, but not often, occurs as the name of a musical instrument (Jos 6:5; 1Ch 25:5; Da 3:5,7,10,15). Of natural horns, and of instruments in the shape of horns, the antiquity and general use are evinced by every extensive collection of antiquities. It is admitted that horns of animals were at first used, and that they at length came to be imitated in metal, but were still called horns. SEE HORN. This use and application of the word are illustrated in our "cornet." It is generally conceived that rams' horns were the instruments used by the early Hebrews; and these are, indeed, expressly named in our own and many other versions as the instruments used at the noted siege of Jericho (Jos 6:5); and the horns of the ram are those which Josephus assigns to the soldiers of Gideon (Ant. 5:6, 5; comp. Jg 7:16). SEE SHOSHANNIM.
3. שׁוֹפָר, shophar, which is a far more common word than keren, and is rendered " trumpet" in the Auth. Ver. This word seems, first, to denote horns of the straighter kind, including probably those of neat cattle, and all the instruments which were eventually made in imitation of and in improvement upon such horns. It is, however, difficult to draw a distinction between it and the keren, seeing that the words are sometimes used synonymously. Thus that which is called "a jobel-horn" in Jos 6:5, is in the same chapter (verses 4, 6, 8, 13) called "a jobel-horn trumpet" (shophar). SEE JUBILEE. Upon the whole, we may take the shophar, however distinguished from the keren, to have been that kind of horn or horn-shaped trumpet which was best known to the Hebrews. The name shophar means bright or clear, and the instrument may be conceived to have been so called from its clear and shrill sound, just as we call an instrument a "clarion," and speak of a musical tone as "brilliant" or "clear." In the service of God this shophar or trumpet was only employed in making announcements, and for calling the people together in the time of the holy solemnities, of war, of rebellion, or of any other great occasion (Ex 19:13; Nu 10:10; Jg 3:7; 1Sa 13:3; 1Sa 15:10; 2Ch 15:14; Isa 18:3). The strong sound of the instrument would have confounded a choir of singers rather than have elevated their music. At feasts and exhibitions of joy horns and trumpets were not forgotten (2Sa 6:15; 1Ch 16:42). There is no reason to conclude that the trumpet was an instrument peculiar to the Levites, as some have supposed. If that were the case we should be unable to account for the three hundred trumpets with which Gideon's men were furnished (Jg 7:8), and for the use of trumpets in making signals by watchmen, who were not always Levites. SEE TRUMPET.
4. The חֲצוֹצרָה, chatsotserah, or straight trumpet, is occasionally mentioned along with the shophar, showing that these two kinds of trumpets were sometimes used together, as in Ps 98:6, "with trumpets and sound of cornet make a joyful noise before the Lord the King" (comp. 1Ch 15:28; 2Ch 15:14). The two silver trumpets appointed by Moses to be made for the use of the priests of the tabernacle were of this construction, and were used for announcing to the people the advent of the different feasts, for signalling "the journeying of the camps," and for sounding alarms in time of war (Nu 10:1-10). Their use in the sacrificial rites as a musical accompaniment was limited (verse 10) to certain occasions, to " their solemn days, the beginnings of their months, and the day of their gladness ;" but in the age of David and Solomon their sacrificial use was much extended, and the number provided for the use of the priests was correspondingly increased. At the dedication of the Temple as many as a hundred and twenty priests "sounded with trumpets;" and in the immensely developed ritual then introduced the part of the musical service assigned to the priests was to blow with the sacred trumpets during the offering of sacrifice, while the Levites accompanied on the other instruments of all kinds. There has been various speculation on the name; but we are disposed to assent to the conclusion of Gesenius that it is an onomatopoetic word, imitating the broken pulse-like sound of the trumpet, like the Latin taratantara, which this word would more resemble if pronounced as in Arabic, hadaderah. By many it has been identified with the modern trombone, on the assumption that the description in Nu 10:2 implies that it was turned back at the end. But straight trumpets are to be seen upon the monuments both of Egypt and Assyria, and the straight silver trumpet of the Jewish Temple is distinctly figured upon the arch of Titus at Rome and on extant Jewish coins (Frolich, Anal. Syr. Proleg.). SEE CORNET.
5. The הָלַיל, halil, flute, the meaning of which is bored through, and denotes a pipe, perforated and furnished with holes. The Sept. always renders it by αὐλός, a pipe or flute. There are but five places where it occurs in the Old Testament (1Sa 10:5; 1Ki 1:40; Isa 5:12; Isa 30:29; Jer 48:36); but the Greek αὐλός occurs in the New Testament (Mt 9:23) and in the Apocryphal books (1 Macc. 4:54; 9:39; Judith 3:8). It was originally formed from the reed, by the simple contrivance of cutting a larger or smaller number of holes in one of its lengths; but it was afterwards, in the progress of the arts, more artificially made of wood, bone, horn, and ivory. It was sometimes single, and at other times double, the two pipes uniting at top in a single mouthpiece. It would seem to have come rather late into use among the Hebrews, and probably had a foreign origin. The passages to which we have referred will indicate the use of this instrument or class of instruments; but of the form we can only guess by reference to those of the ancient Egyptians and Assyrians, which are very similar to those still in use in Western Asia. The pipe is, however, rarely introduced in the Egyptian sculptures, and does not seem to have been held in much estimation. The single pipe of the Greeks is allowed to have been introduced from Egypt (J. Pollix, Onom. 4:10; Athenaeus, Deipnos. 4), from which the Jews probably had theirs. It was- a straight tube, without any increase at the mouth, and when played was held with both hands. It was usually of moderate length, about eighteen inches, but occasionally less, and sometimes so exceedingly long and the holes so low that the player was obliged to extend his arms to the utmost. Some had three holes, others four, and actual specimens made of common reed have been found (Wilkinson, Anc. Egypt. 2:309). The double pipe was formed with two such tubes, of equal or unequal lengths, having a common mouthpiece, and each played with the corresponding hand. They were distinguished as the right and left pipes, and the latter, having but few holes and emitting a deep sound, served as a base; the other had more holes, and gave a sharp sound (Pliny, Hist. Nat. 16:36). This pipe is still used in Palestine. The Scottish missionary deputation overtook, among the hills of Judah, "an Arab playing with all his might upon a shepherd's pipe made of two reeds. This was the first time we had seen any marks of joy in the land" (Narrative, page 118). SEE PIPE.
From the references which have been given it will be seen that the pipe was, among the Jews, chiefly consecrated to joy and pleasure. So much was this the case that in the time of Judas Maccabeus the Jews complained "that joy was taken from Jacob, and the pipe with the harp (κιθίρα) ceased" (1 Macc. 3:45). It was particularly used to enliven the periodical journeys to Jerusalem to attend the great festivals (Isa 30:29); and this custom of accompanying travelling in companies with music is common in the East at this day (Harmer, Obserematt. 2:197; to which add Tournefort, Voyage du Levant, 3:189). Athenaeus (4:174) tells us of a plaintive pipe which was in use among the Phoenicians. This serves to illustrate Mt 9:23, where our Saviour, finding the flute-players with the dead daughter of the ruler, ordered them away, because the damsel was not dead; and in this we also recognise the regulation of the Jews that every one, however poor he might be, should have at least two pipes (חלילים) at the death of his wife (Lightfoot, Hor. Hebr. ad Matthew 9:23). SEE MOURNING.
6. סוּמפֹּניָה, sumponyalh, is evidently the Chald. form of the Gr. συμφωνία, rendered "dulcimer" (Da 3:5; Da 10:15). It is described by the rabbins as a bagpipe consisting of two shrill-toned fifes pressed through a leathern bag. Servius, in his Commentary on the AEneid, describes the symphonia as a sort of bagpipe, which agrees with the representations of Jewish writers. The bagpipe bore the same name among the Moors of Spain, and it is still called in Italy zampogna. The known antiquity of this instrument, together with its present existence in the East, appear to confirm the reference of the sumponyah to the bagpipe. The modern Oriental bagpipe is composed of a goat-skin, usually with the hair on, and in the natural form, but deprived of the head, the tail, and the feet. The pipes are usually made of reeds, terminated with tips of cows' horns, slightly curved. The entire instrument is primitively simple in its materials and construction. SEE DULCIMER.
7. There remains to be noticed a wind-instrument mentioned along with the others in Da 3:5 — theמִשׁרוֹקַיתָא, manshrokitha, A.V. "flute." The etymology of the name indicates that it was an instrument of the pipe class; but whether a bagpipe, a Pandean pipe, or a flute-pipe, single or double, it is impossible to determine. All these identifications have found supporters, and some have even inclined to the opinion that it was of the nature of a rudimentary wind-organ, such as was afterwards imitated and somewhat improved upon by the Temple organ before alluded to the magrephah of the Talmlud. SEE FLUTE.
III. Instruments of Percussion and Agitation. —
1. The most ancient pulsatile instrument mentioned in the O.T. is the תֹּŠ, toph, consisting of a narrow circle or hoop of wood or metal covered with a tightened skin, and struck with the hand. The Sept. renders the word by τύμπανον, a drum. The "timbrel" of our own version is preferable, as there can be no doubt that the instrument intended was of the same nature and form as the timbrel or tambourine still in use in Oriental countries. The Arabs still call it dof, and the Spaniards adufe. It is mentioned as early as the days of Laban (Ge 31:27), where our version has "tabret;" and it was the instrument with which Miriam and the women of Israel accompanied and beat time to their song and dance when they sang responsively the song of Moses (Ex 15:20). Here the name in the original is the same as in Ge 31:27, though the rendering varies to "timbrel." It is also mentioned by Job (Job 21:12). Isaiah adduces it as the instrument of voluptuaries, but left in silence amid wars and desolations (Isa 24:8). The occasions on which it was used were mostly joyful, and those who played upon it were generally females (Ps 68:25), as was the case among most ancient nations, and is so at the present day in the East. It is nowhere mentioned in direct connection with battles or warlike transactions; but it is mentioned on occasions when it was more probably performed on by men (as in the bringing up of the ark, 1Ch 13:8; in worship, 1Sa 10:5; Ps 149:3; Ps 150:4), although this is by no means certain. It frequently occurs on the Egyptian monuments (Wilkinson, Anc. Egypt. 2:240). There were three kinds, differing, no doubt, in sound as well as form: one was circular, another square or oblong, and the third consisted of two squares separated by a bar. They were all beaten by the were all beaten by the hand, and often used as an accompaniment to the harp and other instruments. The imperfect manner of representation does not allow us to see whether the Egyptian tambourine had the same movable pieces of metal let into the wooden frame which we find in the tambourines of the present day. Their presence may, however, be inferred from the manner in which the tambourine is held up after being struck; and we know that the Greek instruments were furnished with balls of metal attached by short thongs to the circular rim (Wilkinson, Ancient Egypt. 2:314). At mournings for the dead the tambourine was sometimes introduced among the Egyptians, and the "mournful song" was accompanied by its monotonous sound. This is still a custom of the East, and probably existed among the Jews. SEE MOURNING.
The toph was thus an instrument of the drum kind; and it is highly probable that, as other varieties of the drum,, apostle's word. It suggests the sound of a small bell rather than the clanging resonance of the cymbals. It should have been rendered clanging or clashing. The sound of these instruments is very sharp and piercing, but it does not belong to fine, speaking, expressive music. The Hebrew instruments were probably similar to those of the Egyptians. These were of mixed metal, apparently bronze, or a compound of copper and silver, and of a form exactly resembling those of modern times, though smaller, being only seven inches or five inches and a half in diameter. The same kind of instrument is still used by the modern inhabitants of Egypt, and from them, says Wilkinson, "have been borrowed the very small cymbals, played with the finger and thumb, which supply the place of castanets in the almeh dance" (Ancient Egyptians, 3:255). The modern castanet, introduced into Spain by the Moors, is to be referred to the same source. SEE CYMBAL.
4. מנִעִנעַים, menaanim. This instrument is only once mentioned in Scripture (2Sa 6:5), where it stands next before cymbals in an enumeration of several instruments, and is strangely translated cornets in our version. It is singular that the example of the Vulg., which renders by the Latin sistra, was not followed by our translators in this instance, especially as the etymology of the name (rad. נוּע, to shake) suggests that it was an instrument of agitation which was denoted, the Greek σεῖστρα having an analogous derivation from adio. It was generally from eight to sixteen or eighteen inches long, and entirely of bronze or copper; movable rings and bars of the same metal being inserted in the frame, by the sharp impact of which upon the frame, when shaken in the hand, a piercing metallic sound was produced. It was sometimes inlaid with silver, gilt, or ,otherwise ornamented, and the rings were frequently made to imitate snakes, or simply bent at each end to secure them from slipping through the holes. Several actual specimens of these instruments have been found, and are deposited in the British, Berlin, and other museums (Wilkinson, Anc. Egypt. 1:131-133). They are mostly furnished with sacred symbols, and were chiefly used by the priests and priestesses in the ceremonies of religion, particularly in those connected with the worship of Isis (Plut. De Isid. c. 63; Juven. 13:93; Jablonsky, Opusc. 1:306). Instruments of the same rude principle, though different form, are still in use in the military music of some modern nations.
5. שָׁלַישַׁים, shalishim. This instrument is only once mentioned, viz. in 1Sa 18:6, where it is spoken of as used by the women of Israel when they came out to meet king Saul and David. Our translators render vaguely "instruments of music," but insert in the margin "three-stringed instruments." The word more probably denoted an instrument with three sides; and as some harps were of that shape, it may probably have meant such harps. (See above, under kinnor.) We insert the name in this place because it is generally thought by recent scholars that it meant what is understood by a triangle, an instrument of percussion which Athenaeus (Deipnos. 4:175) says was derived from Syria. If so, it was possibly in use among the Hebrews, and may have been the instrument referred to in 1Sa 18:6. But, on the other hand, no figure of such an instrument of percussion has been found on any of the monuments either of Assyria, Egypt, or Greece. Like the eyvibals and sistra, it is still in use in military music, especially in the Turkish army.
6. The word "dance" is used in the A.V. for the Heb. term machol, מָחוֹל, a musical instrument of percussion, supposed to have been used by the Hebrews at an early period of their history. Some modern lexicographers, who regard machol as synonymous with rakod, רָקוֹד (Ec 3:4), restrict its meaning to the exercise or amusement of dancing; but according to many scholars it also signifies a musical instrument used for accompanying the dance, which the Hebrews therefore called by the same name as the dance itself. The Sept. generally renders machol by χορός, "dancing;" occasionally, however, it gives a different meaning, as in Ps 30:11 (Heb. Bible, verse 12), where it is translated χαρά, "joy," and in Jer 31:4,14, where it is rendered Συναγωγή, " assembly." The Shemitic versions of the O.T. almost invariably interpret the word as a musical instrument. On the joyous occasion when the Israelites escaped from their Egyptian pursuers, and reached the Arabian shore of the Red Sea in safety, Miriam is represented as going forth striking the תֹּŠ, and followed by her sisters in faith, who join in "with timbrels and dances" (Ex 15:20). Here the sense of the passage seems to be, agreeably to the A.V., that the Hebrew women came forth to dance, and to accompany their dance by a performance on timbrels; and this is the view adopted by the majority of the Latin and English commentators. Parkhurst and Adam Clarke do not share this opinion: according to the former, machol is "some fistular wind-instrument of music, with holes, as a flute, pipe, or fife, from חל, to make a hole or opening;" and the latter says, "I know no place in the Bible where machol and machalath mean dance of any kind they constantly signify some kind of pipe." The Targumists very frequently render machol as a musical instrument. In Ex 15:20, Onkelos gives for machalath the Aramaic word חנגין, which is precisely the same employed by him in Ge 21:27 for kinnor (A.V. 'harp"). The Arabic version has for machol in most places tablun, pl. tubulun, translated by Freytag, in his Arabic Lexicon, "a drum with either one or two faces;" and the word ובמחלות (Jg 11:34, A.V. "and with dances") is rendered by inaun, "songs." Gesenius, Furst, and others adopt for the most part the Sept. rendering; but Rosenmuller, in his commentary on Ex 15:20, observes that, on comparing the passages in Jg 11:34; 1Sa 18:6; and Jer 31:4, and assigning a rational exegesis to their contexts, machol must mean in these instances some musical instrument, probably of the flute kind, and principally played on by women.
In the grand hallelujah psalm (150) which closes that magnificent collection, the sacred poet exhorts mankind to praise Jehovah in his sanctuary with all kinds of music; and among the instruments mentioned at the 3d, 4th, and 5th verses is found machol, which cannot here be consistently rendered in the sense of dancing. Joel Brill, whose second preface (הקדמה שניה) to Mendelssohn's Psalms contains the best treatise extant on the musical instruments mentioned in the Hebrew Bible, remarks: "It is evident from the passage, 'Praise him with the toph and the machol,' that machol must mean here some musical instrument, and this is the opinion of the majority of scholars." Mendelssohn derives machol from חלול, "hollow," on account of its shape; and the author of Shilte Haggibborim denominates it סיסטרוס, which he probably intends for κιθάρα, rather than sistrun. Some modern critics consider machalath the same with machol. Gesenius, however, translates the latter "dancing," while the former he renders "a stringed instrument," from the root חָלִל "to sing."
The musical instrument used as an accompaniment to dancing is generally believed to have been made of metal, open like a ring: it had many small bells attached to its border, and was played at weddings and merrymakings by women, who accompanied it with the voice. According to the author of Shilte Haggibborim, the machol had tinkling metal plates fastened on wires, at intervals, within the circle that formed the instrument, like the modern tambourine; according to others, a similar instrument, also formed of a circular piece of metal or wood, but furnished with a handle, which the performer might so manage as to set in motion several rings strung on a metal bar, passing from one side of the instrument to the other, the waving of which produced a loud, merry sound. SEE DANCE.
IV. The following are general or miscellaneous terms:
1. דִּחֲוָן, dachavan, Chald., rendered " instruments of music" in Da 6:18. The margin gives "or table, perhaps lit. concubines." The last- mentioned rendering is that approved by Gesenius, and seems most probable. The translation, "instruments of music," seems to have originated with the Jewish commentators, R. Nathan, R. Levi, and Aben-Ezra, among others, who represent the word by the Hebrew neginoth, that is, stringed instruments which were played by being struck with the hand or the plectrum.
2. שַׁדָּה, shiddah, is found only in one very obscure passage (Ec 2:8), "I gat me men-singers and women-singers, and the delights of the sons of men, musical instruments, and that of all sorts" (שַׁדָּה ושַׁדּוֹת, shiddsh ve-shiddoth). The words thus rendered have received a great variety of meanings. They are translated "drinking-vessels" by Aquila and the Vulgate; "cup-bearers" by the Sept., Peshito-Syriac, Jerome, and the Arabic version; " baths" by the Chaldee; and "musical instruments" by David Kimchi, followed by Luther and the A.V., as well as by many commentators. By others they are supposed to refer to the women of the royal harem. But the most probable interpretation to be put upon them is that suggested by the usage of the Talmud, where שַׁידָה, shidah, denotes a "palanquin" or "litter" for women. The whole question is discussed in Gesenius's Thesaurus, page 1365.
V. Literature. — On the general subject of the music and musical instruments of the Israelites, see Martini, Storia delta Musica (Bologna, 1757), 1:4 sq.; Burney, General Hist. of Music (Lond. 1776), 1:217 sq.; Schroter, De Musica Davidica (Dresd. 1716); Hawkins, Hist. of Music; Forkel. Gesch. der Musik, 1:99 sq.; Calmet, Dissert. sur la Musique des Hebreux, annexed to his Commentary on the Psalms; Bedford, Temple Music (Bristol, 1706); Pfeiffer, Ueber die Musik der Alten Hebr. (Erl. 1799; transl. in the Amer. Bible Repository, 1835); Saalschutz, Form der Hebr. Poesie, page 329 sq.; also Gesch. und Wurdigung d. Musik bei den Hebr. (Berl. 1829); Harenberg, Comm. de Re Musica Vetus. in Misc. Lips. 9:218 sq.; Sonne, De Musica Judaeor. in sacris (Hafn. 1724); Tal, Dicht Sing und Spielkunst bes. der Hebr. (Frankf. 1706); Jahn, Biblische Archaologie; Reland, De Spoliis Temp. Hieros.; Anton, Die Melodie u. Harmonie der Alt. Hebr. in Paulus, N. Repert. 1:160 sq.; 2:80 sq.; 3:1 sq.; Shilte Haggibborim, in Ugolini Thesaur. volume 32; Contant, Traite sur la Poesie et la Musique des Hebreux (Paris, 1781); Beck, De accentuun Hebr. in Mencken, Thesaur. page 563 sq.; Abicht, Vindiciae accentuum (Lips. 1713); Excellentia musicae antiq. Hebr. (Munich, 1718); Schneider, Bibl.-gesch. Darstellung d. Hebr. Musik (Bonn, 1834); De Wette, Commentar. uber die Psalmen; Rosellini, Monumenti dell' Egitto; Wilkinson, Anc. Egyptians; Villoteau, Sur la Musique des Orientaux, in Descript. de l'Egypte; Lady M.W. Montague, Letters; Volney, Voyage en Syrie; Tournefort, Voyage au Levant; Niebuhr, Reisebeschreibung; Russell, Nat. Hist. of Aleppo; Lane, Modern Egyptians, 2:69 sq.; Thomson, Land and Book; Engel, Music of the most Ancient Nations (Lond. 1864); Hutchinson, Music of the Bible (Bost. 1863).