Zills/Zagat/ Finger Cymbals/ covers and all that sort of good stuff

This session both my Monday and Tuesday belly dance classes are playing with finger cymbals. Zills are a great musical toy to play with, once you feel comfortable doing so.

It took me YEARS!
I took workshops, walked along in the winter with my heavy mitts on tapping out 1,2,3 1,2,3 1,2,3…

And so now I want to give a little bit of info to help my students, and anyone wandering across this article, in their adventure with zilling!

Zills come in different sizes.
Small ones are great for small hands and beginners, and you can progress to the larger ones as you go along.

If you purchase “Single holed” zills, you will eventually hang them on your Christmas/Yule tree after they spin around your finger multiple times, so look for the “two slotted” zills.

Some online sites to check out:

Saroyan Cymbals – amazing quality – but sadly the store is closed temporarily as I write this post, but you can search for used Saroyans online, I am sure.

Ebay: Search and look carefully before buying. These resemble some very low-end Zills I purchased a few years ago, but would be fine to get used to the motion and having something on your fingers: CLICK HEREScreen Shot 2013-02-06 at 8.43.48 AM

Bellydance.com has some tiny ones at a reasonable price – good for starting out!

Screen Shot 2013-02-06 at 8.50.29 AM


These folks just started following my Twitter stream – so check ’em out: JaggedThorns.net

And remember to search for “Zills” “Zagat” “Sagat” and Finger Cymbals to cover all of your bases.

Zill covers:

Obvious: Zills make noise.

By covering one or both of your cymbals on each hand { you are wearing 4 at a time}, you will find it easier to full on “play” them without worrying about your neighbours hearing you or your pets going whacky.


– Baby socks

– elastic wrapped around the zills – just take it off after each practice session.

-You can make your own fancy ones:

Lacy ones – photo from PieKnits.com- go here for instructions if you crochet:Screen Shot 2013-02-06 at 8.29.17 AMOr check out New England Knitters Pretty Petaled Zill Covers

-You can buy some online:

Mistyisle is from Ontario on Etsy: BURGUNDY VELVET ZILL MUFFLERS

Screen Shot 2013-02-06 at 8.37.15 AM

And just do a quick search for “Zill Mufflers” on ETSY.COM and you will find LOADS of them – thank you crafty dancers!!

So you found zills, you found mufflers, now what?

Put them on. One on each thumb between the nail and first knuckle, one on  each middle finger, again, between the nail and first knuckle.

Tighten the elastic until your fingers and zills feel like they won’t separate. No, I mean it. Secure the elastic by sewing or using a tiny brass safety pin.

Then you want to head over to some online places to familiarize yourself with the potential rhythms and beats you can achieve with practice – or find a class and join in! HEre are just a couple – again do some searching and see what you find!

This lovely instructor explains a lot of what I wrote – but here – enjoy:

Once you’ve checked her out – head over to Shimmy Goddess for some interesting rhythms written out, articles and more info:

And that should get you started!!  Practice all of that fun stuff while walking and then start adding it as you are dancing. Simple as that 🙂 …Kidding – it takes practice and allow yourself that time to get comfortable!

Happy playing!

2 thoughts on “Zills/Zagat/ Finger Cymbals/ covers and all that sort of good stuff

  1. Thanks! The Saroyan “Tinker-Zills” are quite nice, not expensive, very small and light with clear, high-tone. Easier for me to play, since an injury caused nerve damage to left hand (booo!)..pretty sure I got them from bellydance.com

Comments are closed.