Kinnor: Biblical harp

Kinnor is the Hebrew name for an ancient stringed instrument, the first mentioned in the Bible (Gen. iv. 21), where it is now always translated harp. The identification of the instrument has been much discussed, but, from the standpoint of the history of musical instruments, the weight of evidence is in favor of the view that the Semitic kinnor is the Greek cithara. This instrument was already in use before 2000 s.c. among the Semitic races and in a higher state of development than it ever attained in Greece during the best classic period. It is unlikely that an instrument (which also appears on Hebrew coins) so widely known and used in various parts of Asia Minor in remote times, and occurring among the Hittite sculptures, should pass unmentioned in the Bible, with the exception of the verses in Dan. iii.


There are different variations of the Kinnor, each having a different number of strings. The following sample tunings are based on the Eb Major / C Minor scale:

  • 12-string Kinnor: Eb,D,C,Bb,G#,G,F,Eb,D,C,Bb,G# (High to Low)
  • 10-string Kinnor: Eb,D,C,Bb,G#,G,F,Eb,D,C (High to Low)
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