Zill Drills
 
ZIll Drills
Zills are finger cymbals that belly dancers wear to accompany the music during their performance. The term is derived from the Turkish word Zillery which means cymbals. The Arabic word for Zills is Sagat. A set of Zills consist of 4 cymbals- two for each hand. They are worn on the thumb and middle finger. Zills can be played in several ways that vary in musical pattern and musical tone.  

Zill playing is an exciting element of belly dancing and should be played in a way that enhances the music- not overpower it. Zills can be played throughout a song by playing a combination of the actual rhythm and Zill counter patterns. Counter patterns are musical patterns indicating the number of cymbal strokes in the pattern, for example 3-3-7. To create a dynamic Zill performance it is very important to include pauses and accents and to play a variety of patterns that complement the music. 

Ways to count w/ zills: 
by the beat (& a 1. & a 2. & a 3 a & a 4)
by the cymbal strokes (3-3-7)
by the rhythm (Beledi- D.D.TkT.D.TkT.Tk)
by mnemonic phrases (coffee shop)

Any rhythm can be accompanied with any Zill pattern as long as it matches the tempo and the beat. Beledi, for example, can be played as the actual rhythm or accompanied with singles, doubles, triples as well several other combinations of 1’s, 2’s 3’s,5’s and 7’s.  

Zill Tones:

1.Regular tone-  Middle finger zill strikes thumb zill. Ring finger is resting beside the middle finger to give needed control.

2.Lighter tone- Remove ring finger from middle finger zill. You will have less control, but the sound will be slightly higher.

3.Muted tone- Place 4 fingers on top of zill. 

4.Tap tone- Keeping the zill attached to your thumb perpendicular,  turn the middle-finger zill horizontally so that you are hitting the edge of the zill, producing a very light tap.

5.Rim tone- Strike the rim of the middle zill with the thumb sill and vice versa producing a very crisp ring. 

6.Clapping: Clap the middle finger zills and thumb zills at the same time. Clap the 
middle finger of the right hand to the left hand thumb zill and vice versa. 

Practice:
Regular 3-3
Muted 3-3
Tapping 3-3
Rim 3-3

Basic Zill Patterns: 
Always alternating hands and the dominant hand always lands on the beat/number. When traveling, feet always must step on the beat. 

Singles - playing one per beat
Counts- 1. 2. 3. 4. 
Drum Talk- D. D. D. D.

Doubles - two per beat 
Counts- 1 &. 2 &. 3 &. 4 &.
Drum Talk- TK. TK. TK. TK

Rolls - four per beat 
Counts- 1 e & a. 2 e & a. 3 e & a. 4 e & a.
Drum Talk- TkTk. TkTk. TkTk. TkTk.

Gallop/Triples - three per beat. Most commonly played pattern. Also known as Longa in Turkish (musical genre) and Araj-which means to limp- in Arabic. 
Counts- & a 1. & a 2. & a 3. & a 4.
Drum Talk- TkT. TkT. TkT. TkT
Middle Eastern Rhythms
Maqsum 4/4 









Base: 1&. &3. 4 | 2-2-1
Fill 1: 1&. 2&. 3&. 4. &a | 2-2-2-1-2
Fill 2: 1&. 2e&. 3. &a4. &a. | 2-3-1-3-2
Fill 3: 1e&a. 2e&a. 3e&a. 4e&a. | 4-4-4-4 

Baladi 4/4









Base: 1&.  &3. 4. | 2-2-1
Fill 1: 1&. 2e&. 3. &a4. &a. | 2-3-1-3-2
Fill 2: 1e&. 2e&a3. &a4. &a. | 3- 4- 3-2 | 2-4-3-2
Fill 3: 1e&a. 2e&a. 3e&a. 4e&a. | 4-4-4-4 


Ayoub 2/4 

 







Base: 1. a2. &. | 2-2
Fill 1: 1. &a2. &. | 1-3-1
Fill 2: 1e&a2. &. | 5-1
Fill 3: 1e&a. 2e&a. | 4-4

Maksoum 4/4 






Base: 1&. &3. 4 | 2-2-1
Fill 1: 1&. 2&. 3&. 4. &a | 2-2-2-1-2
Fill 2: 1&. 2e&. 3. &a4. &a. | 2-3-1-3-2
Fill 3: 1e&a. 2e&a. 3e&a. 4e&a. | 4-4-4-4 

Beledi 4/4






Base: 1&.  &3. 4. | 2-2-1
Fill 1: 1&. 2e&. 3. &a4. &a. | 2-3-1-3-2
Fill 2: 1e&. 2e&a3. &a4. &a. | 3- 4- 3-2 | 2-4-3-2
Fill 3: 1e&a. 2e&a. 3e&a. 4e&a. | 4-4-4-4 


Ayoub 2/4 

 


Base: 1. a2. &. | 2-2
Fill 1: 1. &a2. &. | 1-3-1
Fill 2: 1e&a2. &. | 5-1
Fill 3: 1e&a. 2e&a. | 4-4