Provisional Abstract. The paper explores the development of ancient Near Eastern musical instruments and the development of ancient Near Eastern societies (including Egypt), and asks: are there any identifiable relationships? For example, are there any discernible musical differences between urban and rural, peaceful and militant, prosperous and desolate environments? Can we observe significant innovations? How can they be explained in terms of, for example, Trade, Migration, Diffusion, Evolution? Did times exist in which people gave preference to specific musical soundscapes and/or acoustical properties? How did the volume (amplitude) of musical instrument sounds change in the course of the millennia? How far do musical instruments (like the carnyx in Roman times) and musical forms become meaningful symbols of cultural identity. To what extent were political leaders trained in musical theory and practice? Such questions may readily be answered in relation to other parts of our world, both ancient and modern, but not yet for the region and period in question. I will try to arrive at some conclusions which might allow us to reconsider the function – and political significance – of music in the ancient Near East.