"Klapp" instead of "Ting" learning the Zills

Ælfscine

Member
Hello Everyone...

Well, it has been about two months now that I have been trying to learn how to play zills. I have mastered the "gallop" pretty well but that is boring after any length of time. I have been trying to learn a rhythm that involves striking one zill with the edge of the other. But try as I may, they keep skidding and make a harsh "klapp" rather than a clear "ting". I have watched the instruction video over and over until becoming cross-eyed and cuckoo. I'm sure that I'm doing it as demonstrated. The only things I can think of is either there is something to the technique that is not easy to see in the video or perhaps the zills I'm using were not properly made. Anyway, I could use some help with this because I'm getting really frustrated.

Thank you all in advance,

Ælfscine
 

gisela

Super Moderator
I am not quite picturing what you are describing but generally when zills make a clack noise instead of a ring /ting it's because you are not fast enough to separate them after you hit them together. So... together and open at once and let them ring. Not sure if this is helpful but give it a try.
 

shiradotnet

New member
A lot can depend on the finger cymbals themselves and what metal alloys they are made of. Some just will NOT ring, no matter how hard you try. I have a couple of those sets that I let my students borrow in class, and I always tell the students using those sets that they shouldn't expect a nice ring, because they won't get one.

What brand are you using?
 

Ælfscine

Member
Hi Shira...
I have no idea what brand of zills I have. My brother bought them for me at the India Emporium. He said that he had a hard time finding any place in Ottawa where the people there knew what he was talking about let alone have them in stock. But according to Ælfstangard, he was told that they are made from tempered Indian bronze. Maybe that means something to you. They sound pretty enough although one pair (?) is pitched lower than the other. I have been able to get a nice ting out of them for the most part but this time everything is just falling flat on it's face when I try. Perhaps it is as Gisela says - I haven't worked out the proper attack and release technique.
Thank you for your help,
Ælfscine
 

BigJim

New member
Hi Shira...
I have no idea what brand of zills I have. My brother bought them for me at the India Emporium. He said that he had a hard time finding any place in Ottawa where the people there knew what he was talking about let alone have them in stock. But according to Ælfstangard, he was told that they are made from tempered Indian bronze. Maybe that means something to you. They sound pretty enough although one pair (?) is pitched lower than the other. I have been able to get a nice ting out of them for the most part but this time everything is just falling flat on it's face when I try. Perhaps it is as Gisela says - I haven't worked out the proper attack and release technique.
Thank you for your help,
Ælfscine
You can try off setting them... when they clack you've probably got them matching up perfectly when they strike together.... try striking just the edges together and see what happens...

Hold your hand out palm down... the zill on your middle finger should be horizontal...

Now bring your thumb under your out stretched fingers... the zill on your thumb should be vertical..

Just use your middle finger zil and tap the thumb zil... don't tap to the middle of the zil... just edge to edge

I hope the instructions are not to confusing... let us know how it works out... Jim
 

Ælfscine

Member
You can try off setting them... when they clack you've probably got them matching up perfectly when they strike together.... try striking just the edges together and see what happens...

Hold your hand out palm down... the zill on your middle finger should be horizontal...

Now bring your thumb under your out stretched fingers... the zill on your thumb should be vertical..

Just use your middle finger zil and tap the thumb zil... don't tap to the middle of the zil... just edge to edge

I hope the instructions are not to confusing... let us know how it works out... Jim
Hi Jim...
Thank you for your help. I tried the method you described and am able to achieve a beautiful ting. But now my zills seem to be in the wrong spot for other rhythms. I'm beginning to think that there are a zillion ways to play zills so I may just have to find the technique that suits me.... but any direction would be welcome.

Meanwhile, I received an e-mail from my friend Layla in Algeria wherein she tells me that she is sending me a set of zills (which she insists on calling "sajat") that were made in Morocco. I don't know if they'll be better or worse than the ones I have but I'm excited waiting for them to arrive. And free is a pretty good price for them.
So, thank you and all for your help. I'll keep you posted on how the new sajat work out.

Later,
Ælfscine
 

BigJim

New member
Hi Jim...
Thank you for your help. I tried the method you described and am able to achieve a beautiful ting. But now my zills seem to be in the wrong spot for other rhythms. I'm beginning to think that there are a zillion ways to play zills so I may just have to find the technique that suits me.... but any direction would be welcome.

Meanwhile, I received an e-mail from my friend Layla in Algeria wherein she tells me that she is sending me a set of zills (which she insists on calling "sajat") that were made in Morocco. I don't know if they'll be better or worse than the ones I have but I'm excited waiting for them to arrive. And free is a pretty good price for them.
So, thank you and all for your help. I'll keep you posted on how the new sajat work out.

Later,
Ælfscine
Glad you've found the high pitch.... now just start rotating your palm around eventually getting to a point where it looks like you are going to shake hands with someone.... while you are rotating you will hear the pitch changing as you are striking the zils at different angles... this gives you the ability to play with different tones ... kind of like playing a scale on the piano... you can also deaden the sounds your zils are making by placing your 1rst and third fingers on the back of the zil... it will really deaden your klack... did I really say that?... the fun is in experimenting with what sounds you get out of them... have fun
 

gisela

Super Moderator
Zil is turkish and sagat/sajat is arabic and I think they differ a bit in production if I understood it correctly. I read somewhere that Arabic sagat are cast and turkish zills are made from sheet metal, but don't take my word for it as I can't remember where I read it.

Edit: Ah, that wasn't too hard to find. A nice article from Gilded Serpent about Zills vs. Sagat.
http://www.gildedserpent.com/cms/2011/04/25/yasmini-zills-sagat-difference/#axzz2Mhk75z7h
 
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Ælfscine

Member
Hello Gisela The Ever Glimmering...

Thank you for the link to that article. It was very informative. According to this articl, what I have are sagat and not zills. That is probably that a technique designed for playing zills falls flat when playing sagat and that is why I have been experiencing such difficulty. I guess I shall have to find videos with instructions on how to play sagat. The confusing thing is that Ælfstangard was told that what I have are made of tempered Indian bronze which according to this article is what zills are made from. :think: Could they be a hybrid?

Anyway, I have included pictures of the "sagat" I have.

View attachment 9468View attachment 9469

The other thing that seems to support that they are sagat is that they ring for only 3 seconds at most. It will be interesting when I can compare them to the Moroccan sagat that Layla says she is sending me.

Again, thank you all for your help,

Ælfscine
 

Farasha Hanem

New member
I'm sorry, your attachments didn't work, they're not showing up.

@Gisela If what I read in the article is true, then my "Tarkan" Turkish zills I bought off eBay for $6 are actually sagat, since they only have one hole. But their ring sustains for about as long as my Saroyans! And their tone is very pretty. What is UP with that??? :think: :confused:

image.jpg
 
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Aziyade

New member
The slotted cymbals are a recent innovation, I believe. Different people made them differently. El Coyote zills always had the single holes, so ...

I'm curious about the playing position she refers to -- I know Jamila Salimpour plays that clamshell style, but she plays Tura which are significantly larger than "regular" cymbals. You almost have to clamshell them. Suhaila plays smaller cymbals and plays them like "zills." I wonder if part of the clamshell hold is related to size? I know Amina Goodyear played smaller ones in that style though, so again ...


Very interesting subject.
 

Jane

New member
I liked the Gilded Serpent piece, but I want more cited sources for documentation on the ancient history of ME/NE/NA SITA dances and finger cymbals dang it! ;)
 

Ælfscine

Member
Sagat Images

Hello Everyone...
I haven't been on for a bit -- busy with studies and getting ready for final exams. Yesterday (March 10th) I celebrated my 21st birthday so there was plenty of wine, women, song and some really cute guys too. ;)
Anyway, to get back on topic (but some of those guys were sooo cute!) I am pretty sure that what I have are sagat. I'm going to try attaching new images and, hopefully, they'll upload this time.

Sagat 03.jpgSagat 02.jpg

Anyway, I'm goofing off in class to send this, so I had better get it sent before I get caught.

Later,

Ælfscine
 
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nitewindz

New member
Learning to play zills isn't easy. It's possible to play crappy zills well, but poorly made zills will never produce the same beautiful sounds as quality zills. Think about Snapple caps. A good zill player can use Snapple caps as zills and play well, but those Snapple caps will never sound like true finger cymbals because they're not finger cymbals. They're Snapple caps.

Cheap zills made as souvenirs, toys or trinkets sound poorly and are more difficult to play than true finger cymbals.

Size makes a difference, too. Cymbals that are too big or small are awkward.

Most dancers use zills, with two slots. I believe Artemis Mourat offers a cd that teaches sagat, or single hole cymbals
 
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