What does "Maskil" in the heading of a psalm mean?

Nissim Amzallag, Shamir Yona

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


This study suggests that the word maśkll 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/maśkll 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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)41-57
Number of pages17
JournalAncient Near Eastern Studies
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2016


  • Complex antiphony
  • Ezrahites
  • Musical worship
  • Psalm heading
  • Śkl semitic root

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Classics
  • Archaeology
  • History
  • Visual Arts and Performing Arts
  • Archaeology
  • Literature and Literary Theory


Dive into the research topics of 'What does "Maskil" in the heading of a psalm mean?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this