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  1. #1
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    Last edited by BellydanceFTW; 12-10-2015 at 01:01 AM.

  2. #2
    Super Moderator Mosaic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BellydanceFTW View Post
    I received my first set of zills yesterday (Sayoran, supposedly a good brand, and very bellish sounding) and have two questions regarding them. The first one is concerning how to play them. Do you play them by striking one against the otherís edge or by hitting them directly on top of each other, so their sides are always aligned? They sound more like I imagine they should when I use them like described first, but I donít want to start doing incorrectly. The second question is what on Godís good green earth has happened to my zills? While they were a sheen bronze only yesterday, they are very dull and worn looking today. There are murky brown marks left under the fingerstraps that if you were to look close enough have my fingerprints in them, and this effect is echoed on several places on rims as well. Was a I gypped or am I too dirty for my own good, and is there anything that can be done to make them like they were (again, only yesterday)?
    LOL! Too dirty for your own good No I don't think so, maybe oils acids in your skin are reacting with the metal or the surface finish, try polishing the marks, even wash them with a soft detergent, rinse, dry and polish. I am not much help there am I.

    As for how to strike, both methods are correct, just depends on the sound you wish to invoke. struck when aligned together (my opinion) gives a more 'earthy deep sound, and the striking of the edge as you mentioned the higher bell like sound. For more tribally or fusion style music I like a mix of both, but maybe more of the erathy beat, and for the Egyptian/Turkish etc the bell sound, but when you are playing (well I do maybe a professional player doesn't) you tend to get a mix of both sounds.

    I am sure other players will also come forth with some good advice.

    ~Mosaic

  3. #3
    Moderator Farasha Hanem's Avatar
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    If your zills are made of real brass, they will tarnish quickly, just like silver. I use a brass cleaner called "Brasso" and a soft cloth (like the kind used to polish silver) when my zills get tarnished. Just be careful not to get cleaner on the elastic, because it will be hard to get out if it gets on them. Oh, if your zills didn't come in its own bag, it might be wise to buy a small jewelry pouch with a drawstring; it will protect your zills from nicks and scratches. Or make one yourself out of a soft, velvety material.

    We haven't learned to play zills in our class yet, but there's a good mini-tutorial in the bonus material on the "American Bellydancer" DVD documentary. Laura A. Cooper's book, "Bellydance Basics," has some pointers on zill playing, and Keti Sharif's "Bellydance" devotes a chapter to it. There are also instructional DVD's on zill playing; unfortunately, the only one I own came in a box set. It's Dolphina's 3 DVD "Goddess Workout" box set, and I wouldn't recommend it to my dead ferret. -_-;;; She's a so-so dancer in my opinion, but a horrible instructor. She doesn't give enough explaination on the movements, and she goes on and on and on about goddess stuff. Sorry for the rant, there; she just annoys me. I know there are other members here who can recommend better DVD's. However, if you can find yourself an instructor who can teach you how to play your zills (teach you proper technique, the various rhythms in Middle Eastern music, etc.), that would be even better. Nothing like personal instruction. Good luck to you!
    Last edited by Farasha Hanem; 05-23-2008 at 02:34 AM.

  4. #4
    V.I.P. Jane's Avatar
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    This is a very good beginning zill video:

    Belly Dance Video Finger Cymbals with Ansuya

    Best of luck!

  5. #5
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    I recently bought my first zills, too.
    Someone recommended me this DVD:
    "How To Play Finger Cymbals" with Mesmera
    I've been thinking about buying it for quite a long time now, but I still haven't, so I can't really say anything about it. But I saw a small part of it at youtube (I think it was this one: YouTube - How To Play Finger Cymbals With Mesmera) and it looked quite good.

    Good luck!

  6. #6
    Member maylynn's Avatar
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    I have solid bronze ghawazee zills from Saroyan that I absolutely love and use whenever I get the chance in performance!

    I have never gotten around to purchasing brass polish (and am not sure how that would work on bronze), plus hate the idea of buying chemicals just for that. However, maybe because they're bronze, my zills have tarnished in a really pretty way - kind of greeny purply iridescent that makes them look antique - so now I have no intention of polishing them!

    What you could try though is using regular toothpaste & water with an old toothbrush to polish them. Not sure how this works on brass, and doesn't seem to do much for bronze, but this how silver & gold jewellery is polished in many jewellery stores because it's so effective and gentle on the metal.

  7. #7
    Member maylynn's Avatar
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    Also, there's a great cd by Solace, called 'Rhythm of the Dance' that is fantastic for practicing zills. Each song is a different style/time signature (e.g. beledi, chifti, masmoudi, saidi, etc) and in the liner notes it describes the rhythms really well and how to play along with your zills.

  8. #8
    V.I.P. Jane's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Opal View Post
    I recently bought my first zills, too.
    Someone recommended me this DVD:
    "How To Play Finger Cymbals" with Mesmera
    I've been thinking about buying it for quite a long time now, but I still haven't, so I can't really say anything about it. But I saw a small part of it at youtube (I think it was this one: YouTube - How To Play Finger Cymbals With Mesmera) and it looked quite good. Good luck!
    I did a review of the Mesmera video in "Instructors & Students" section
    in "What Insturctional DVD/Videos you have" thread. It's on page 18 I believe.

  9. #9
    Moderator Zorba's Avatar
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    With Zills that are nice and shiny when new, you have two choices:

    1) Polish them frequently,

    2) Let them go au nateral.

    If you want to keep them shiny, you can polish them with brass/copper polish, or car wax. Both leave somewhat of a protective coating. Always, always, always wipe your shiny Zills down with a soft polishing cloth before putting them away - and don't touch them with your bare fingers after you wipe them down. Then keep them in a fairly airtight container - the little bags that Saroyan sells (or used to anyway) are pretty airtight, a ziploc plastic bag is very airtight, but not particularly glamorous.

    If you keep them in an open weave bag that admits air, they will tarnish very quickly.

    I have three sets - one set I keep polished, one I let tarnish, and the third are cast bronze Zildjians which you couldn't polish if you wanted to (rough castings).

    As for playing them, I heartily recommend:

    Zills on Fire Finger Cymbal Instruction--zils, belly dance, drum rhythm lessons

  10. #10
    V.I.P. Yasmine Bint Al Nubia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Opal View Post
    I recently bought my first zills, too.
    Someone recommended me this DVD:
    "How To Play Finger Cymbals" with Mesmera
    I've been thinking about buying it for quite a long time now, but I still haven't, so I can't really say anything about it. But I saw a small part of it at youtube (I think it was this one: YouTube - How To Play Finger Cymbals With Mesmera) and it looked quite good.

    Good luck!
    In addition to what I learned in class, I also bought the Mesmera video. She has some sound(pun intended) advice, so IMO you can't go wrong with that one. She even plays along with Jeremiah Soto(of solace) at the end. I don't have Ansuya's video, but she's one of the few American Belly dancers that ALWAYS dance with her zills. I'm sure she has some good info and practice tips to share.
    However regardless, of which video you buy, you still have to practice with them!
    Yasmine

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