Nevertheless, the wealth and diversity of the available sources does enable us to reconstruct many aspects of the music of ancient Mesopotamia.
Singers and musical instrument players The expressive power of the singing of ancient Mesopotamian musicians is demonstrated in the following Sumerian proverb: “A scribe without a hand – a singer without a throat.” Singers can sometimes be identified in iconographic representations.
The scales that can be reconstructed parallel those known from the classical tradition, such as the Dorian, Phrygian, and Lydian scales.
The names of the intervals and scales known from the lists appear on rare occasions in hymnic texts, where they prescribe musical accompaniment.
They stand next to instrumentalists and hold their hands against their chest or stomach to enable diaphragmatic breathing while singing—a technique employed by vocalists today, too.
Hundreds of thousands of cuneiform tablets in collections around the world shed light on the everyday life, economy, law, literature, and religion of ancient Mesopotamia.
Another characteristic attribute of musicians is blindness.
The cross-cultural link between musical talent and blindness is well known.
One musical instrument whose identity has been established with a reasonable degree of certainty is the Sumerian instrument.
In addition to the inscription, there is also a large stone stele that graphically portrays the ceremony held for the same occasion.