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Title: What does 'Maskil' in the Heading of a Psalm Mean?
Author(s): AMZALLAG, Nissim , YONA, Shamir
Journal: Ancient Near Eastern Studies
Volume: 53    Date: 2016   
Pages: 41-57
DOI: 10.2143/ANES.53.0.3154560

Abstract :
This study suggests that the word maśkîl in the heading of a psalm is a musical instruction that denotes a specific responsive mode of performance defined as complex antiphony because it involves the gathering of distant segments of the text through a dialogue between choirs, each singing a different section of the edited song. This premise is supported by the use of pi'el śkl to express an unusual (crossed) bonding (Gen. 48:14), testimonies in Chronicles about difficulties in the execution of this mode of performance, the mention of śekel/maśkîl in psalms specifically designed for complex antiphony, and the intellectual effort required to apprehend the meaning that emerges from such a dialogic mixing of claims, itself echoed by other uses of the Semitic root śkl.

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