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Lesson on Zills and Belly Dancing

NOTE:Sulyman's Zills

Delilah plays a medium-large, low tone set of finger cymbals/zills made by Sulyman, pictured at right. She loves the sound, artistic beauty, and size. These zills are great for both live and recorded music. Delilah usually has a few sets on hand for sale, but it's best to call Visionary Dance Productions to find out what's available.
Toll free 1-866-3559

These are professional zills, not to be confused with the practice zills offered on our Belly Dance Supplies Page
Small $45 Medium $50 Large $55
Check or Credit Cards accepted.
Sorry, these zills are not regularly an on-line item.

LESSON: Gallop Pattern

The word "zill" is the Turkish word for bell.
All zills vary in size (diameter) and shape (characteristics of the dome and rim). These factors effect the tone of the ring. The sound you choose will be a matter of personal taste. Remember that size effects amplification and the way they look in the hand that is playing them. Again, this is a matter of taste, but I suggest you start small and graduate up, or a smaller zill for a smaller hand (not obligatory). A pair of cymbals is two while a set of zills is four bells. You attach them to the thumb and second finger of each hand with flat elastic. The elastic should be sewn or knotted — not pinned. Pins open up and a flying zill can become very dangerous!

There are three kinds of cymbals:

  1. Machine punched of different, cheaper metals, $9 to $35 for a practice pair and, at the higher end, they can be used professionally. Tight sounding. Good with taped music and acoustic bands. They come in brass or chrome color and sometimes have nice designs etched into them.
  2. Hand pounded brass, $40 to $60, professional level. Usually have a nice bell sound. Can be used with taped or live amplified music. Vary in size and shape
  3. Cast/Zildjian brand. Price ranges from $55 to $80, professional concert bell. The best! Great with loud, live music — generally too loud for taped music. The live and taped aspects don't blend very well and can be distracting.

If you are having a problem finding a place to practice, I suggest practicing in your car while stuck in a traffic jam or waiting for a ferry. Keep a CD and a set of zills handy in your car!

Some people make little mufflers for their zills. I have never tried this. Part of the skill of playing is in the dynamics of the tone so I wouldn't do this unless I was desperate. . .

Zill Pattern:

The gallop pattern can be played with either the right or left hand leading (I'm right handed but prefer to lead with the left). The double is played in half the time as the single (my right hand is quicker);

One and a, Two and a, Three and a

Hear the gallop?

Other zill resources on our Accessories Page:

Mimi Spencer's intense zill manual and accompanying CD
Uncle Mafufo's NEW practice zill CD called "Zills and Drums"
Great Starter Zills

Visit our Belly Dance Supplies page or call 1-866-222-3557 or 206-632-2353 to order.


Visionary Belly Dancing
4115 Fremont Ave N, Seattle, WA 98103 USA

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