ZillZills: Music on Your Fingertips by Dawn Devines: Music on Your Fingertips
All About Finger Cymbals

By Dawn Devine
Photography Alisha Westerfeld
Illustrations George Goncalves

Copyright: 2016
Dimensions: 8” by 10”
Page Count: 132
Images: over 200 b&w illustrations and photo
ISBN: 978-0-692-77836-4
MSRP: $22.95

Zills: Music on Your Fingertips – All About Finger Cymbals is written for the belly dancer who’s looking for concepts, ideas, and information that will help them take their zill playing to the next level.  This book is broken down into six sections that focus on different aspects of the zill playing process.

Continuing History – This section is a brief overview of the history of finger cymbals from antiquity to today.  We hit the highlights and turning points along the timeline of the development of zills, and then situate them within the world of contemporary belly dance.

Zill-Fitting-WebConstruction & Manufacture – Finger cymbals are made in a variety of ways, and in this section we present the basics of zill manufacture and different modern production methods.

Selection & Preparation – Once you know how zills are made, we explore the issues to consider when purchasing zills.  Budget, style, tone, volume, and appearance all key features that figure into the selection process.

Jingle-SpreadPlaying Finger Cymbals – The heart of this book includes a breakdown of the four major approaches to playing zills: playing with the drum, the melody, with the accents, or, if you are dancing, with your own moves.  The most popular drum rhythms are broken down for you in easy to understand charts with notations for different methods of play. 

Dancing with Finger Cymbals – There are many approaches for integrating zills into your performances.  

Zill-Pile-White-WEBCare & Storage – In this section, we present methods for cleaning, ideas displaying and storing your favorite zills. We’ve also put together a collection of our favorite DIY projects for bags, wallets, and zill mufflers.

Research & References – Also included are a collection of resources including lists of suggested practice music, instructional videos, and a selected bibliography. 

Mini FAQ:

  • Q – Hey Davina – What are your favorite brand of finger cymbals?  A – My first set of professional grade zills was from Saroyan Mastercrafts.  I’ve got a lot of different kinds of zills, but it’s always my Saroyan’s that I turn to when I perform. If you want to know more about this company and their products, check them out! http://www.saroyancymbals.com/
  • Q – What do you use to clean your zills?  A – I use the secret product that pro-musicians have used for years, Heinz Ketchup.  Yep, there’s something magical about the vinegar and the acid from the tomatoes.  Be sure to take your elastic off first before cleaning!
  • Q – Why did you write this book?  A – This book began in the early 1990’s as a handout for my belly dance classes.  In 2005, I teamed up with photographer Michael Baxter who took some amazing photos for a booklet that I printed at home, stapled myself, and sold direct at events.  This booklet spent many years out of print, and I decided to dust off that manuscript and expand the text.  Photographer Alisha Westerfeld, and illustrator George Goncalves have joined me to create beautiful images to support the new more in-depth and detailed text.
  • Q – Will you be making a CD or a Video?  A – There are already many excellent CD’s and videos available on the market.  Many of my zill heroes have excellent instructional DVD’s with companion music for your practice.  I’ll try and get some clips up on YouTube in the future!

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