Richard Dumbrill (musicologist)

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Richard J. Dumbrill is an archaeomusicologist who was born in France (Epernay 1947). He has devoted his academic career to the study of the archaeomusicology of the Ancient Near East, especially the interpretation of cuneiform texts of Music Theory written in Sumerian, Babylonian and Hurrian. His interpretation of theory is based on his profound knowledge of Middle-Oriental Musicology. He has rejected previous interpretations which were based on Western Theory and therefore inadequate. One of his greatest achievements was the translation of the oldest song ever written found in northwest syria at the site of Ugarit. He made reconstructions of ancient instruments, notably the Silver lyre of Ur hosted at the British Museum, with Myriam Marcetteau and the Elamite harp of the battle of Ulai, with Margaux Bousquet. He is the founder, with Irving Finkel of the International Council of Near Eastern Archaeomusicology [1] (ICONEA) at the Institute of Musical Research, School of Advanced Studies, University of London,[2]. Richard Dumbrill has lectured at major world university, including Harvard and Yale, but also Babylon, Beirut, Damascus, Leiden, Rotterdam, Paris, etc.



  • The Musicology and Organology of the Ancient Near East, second edition. Trafford, Victoria, Canada.(2005) ISBN 1-4120-5538-5[3]
  • Idiophones of the Ancient Near East in the Collections of the British Museum 121 pages, Publisher: Gorgias Pr Llc (12 Jun. 2011) Language: English ISBN-10: 1611439566 ISBN-13: 978-1611439564
  • The Silver Lyre of Ur Copyright Richard Dumbrill ICONEA PUBLICATIONS LONDON Published 28 May 2015 ISBN 9781326289010
  • Musical scenes on Seals and Seal Impressions of the Ancient Near EastRichard Dumbrill ICONEA PUBLICATIONS LONDON 2015 ISBN 9781326289324
  • The Truth about Babylonian Music Near Eastern Musicology Online 4 6 |2017-08| p. 91–121.


  • Co-editor of ARAM witn Shafiq AbuZayd
  • Co-editor of NEMO-Online with Amine Beyhom
  • Editor of ICONEA with Irving Finkel (2008)
  • Co-editor with Bryan Carr of the Ernest McClain Memorial Volume, forthcoming
  • Editor of Musical Traditions in the Middle-East. Proceedings of the International Conference held at Leiden University, 10-12 December 2009. Forthcoming.


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