Samuel Dorf: Ancient Mesopotamian Music, the Politics of Reconstruction, and Extreme Early Music

It is always distressing to read an article written by a young author whose name is prefixed by the title of Dr., and suffixed by Ph.D. when the article in question is littered with inaccuracies, anachronisms, unproven evidence and a laboriously exclusive bibliography of the author’s sbires. I would have hoped that Dorf’s alma mater having granted to him the position of Associate Professor of Musicology, would have taught him that evidence without proof is worthless, and that exclusive footnotes are certainly not what is expected from academic probity.

   What is the purpose of the adjective ‘extreme’ which is incongruous to musicology unless one wants to make a glitzy-schmaltzy show of it.

If Dorf insists at quoting Arabic he should respect transliteration: ad-Dawlah al-Islāmiyah fī ‘l-ʿIrāq wa-sh-Shām. Khaled al-Asaad was my friend, we first met at Oxford and then mainly in Palmyra, but unlike what Dorf says, he was not an archaeologist. On the other hand he knew Palmyra like no one knew it and was the true Custodian of the site.

Then our national yellow buffoon who never cared about Syria apart from its annihilation on behalf of Israel decides to make a clownish appearance by the reconstructed arch but then, why this lyre? Why the singing? The silver lyre displayed has absolutely nothing to do with Palmyra since it is a Sumerian Instrument dated about 2,600 BC while the arch is second century AD. Another blonde ululated some weird Gilgamesh equal temperament music which Gilgamesh himself would have never recognised and to crown it all, with an amazing English accent. What a pig’s breakfast!

Then, there is praise for Andy Lowings and his IKEA replication of the Gold lyre. The kilo of gold used for its replication would have been put to better usage in alleviating the poverty into which we plunged Iraq with our lamentable invasion, again, on behalf of Israel.

Dorf goes on with more anachronism and refers to obsolete articles about Babylonian music. The only thing I find extreme in this article is that it has reached extreme ignorance.