Continuing on with my unintentional yet alluring theme of "musical instruments of the ancient Mediterranean", I'm lately exploring the whole issue with the stringed instrument known as a kinnor which is variously translated as a zither or a lyre. If it's true that the name of the kithara is ultimately from a Minoan compound meaning 'three-stringed' and containing the element *ki 'three' (see Paleoglot: The kithara), then it stands to reason that the similar name, kinnor, is probably likewise Minoan in origin and containing the same petrified numeral with a different second component.
I racked my brain on this one, looking at all the available comparanda I could amass this past few days and my findings can be summarized as follows:
- Greek κινύρα (kinúra) 'lyre'
- Mycenaean ki-nu-ra = *Kinúras [PY Qa 1301]
- Hebrew כִּנּוֹר (kinnōr)
- Hittite kinartallas ~ kinirtallas 'singer, musician'
- Akkadian kinnāru 'lyre'
From the Hebrew reflex, the famous Canaanite Shift of *ā > *ō by the close of the 2nd millennium BCE brings us back to an earlier form reflected directly in Akkadian as kinnāru. This same form explains the derivative in Hittite, kinartállas, whose accent I presume lies on the syllable just after the foreign stem kinar- in order to explain the alternation of a and i in spelling (ie. a reduced pretonic vowel perhaps?).
This all means that, to update the form I offered in a recent comment, the compound we're looking for in Minoan is precisely *ki-naro. I will withhold my analysis of the second component for a future entry.