Got Zills?

This week I took the brass zills or finger cymbals I bought at a women’s drum camp out and fitted them for use. I specially went to my bellydancing teacher’s house to learn how to size the elastics to my middle fingers and thumbs and sew them permanently so I can use them while bellydancing. Besides sewing the elastic in a fitted loop, she taught me to mark the middle finger elastics with one color of thread and the thumb finger elastics with another.

I have one set of four zills. They are brass, shiny, and engraved with a sort of flower pattern on the tops. I found out they are considered beginner zills because they are smaller and higher pitched than other zills more experienced bellydancers tend to use. I got to see larger zills, some of which were plain and some of which had fancier designs on them.  My teacher had several sets, and was replacing  the elastics in them. That night, she gave her regular class but at the end brought out the zills for us to try for the first time in class.

She showed us the most basic bellydancing zill pattern: 1-2-3, 1-2-3, 1-2-3.  Right-Left-Right, space.  Ching -ching -Ching,  Ching-ching Ching,  Ching ching Ching.  All produced by clapping the cymbals together squarely OR, by  tapping the rims of the cymbals together. There’s a kind of dinging hum when you use zills and they don’t need a lot of force to get going.  It’s pretty simple  until you add arm movements, shaking the body, stepping, and trying to look graceful while doing the zill patterns. And not doing it too fast, keeping it steady…….yep, takes practice.  A whole lot O Practice!

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About Shirley

I started this blog to expand and explore my rhythm horizons as a hand drummer. That exploration includes touching on the rest of my life and inner world as authentically and truthfully as possible.
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