(Click on link for popup audio of Zil rhythms)

Zils: Also known as finger cymbals. They range in size from 1" to 2.5 inches across. Brass or silvertone. There is no set rule what size you must have. Find a pair that is easy for you to work, and have fun. The military beat, and the beledi, and triples are the most commonly used zil patterns to play. Here is a sample of combined zil patterns.

Commonly used Zil Rhthyms (R = Right L= Left)

  1. The Military: The beat is: R-L-R   R-L-R  R-L-R-L-R-L-R, repeat

  3. The Beledi: R-R-R-L-R  R-R-L-R , repeat. To fill in the pause you can add an extra RL between the repeats : R-R-R-L-R  R-R-L-R  R-L  R-R-R-L-R  R-R-L-R

  5. Triples: R-L-R  R-L-R  R-L-R
When playing in a group, if one of the more complex rhythms is being played, and you get lost,
you can always fall back to the reliable triple. It blends in perfectly with both the military and the beledi.

Less common rhythm

  • Moroccan 6: This rhythm isn't too common, but is good to have in your repetoire. The emphasis is on the 1 count and the 4 count. 1-3-5 being Right, and 2-4-6 being left. ONE two three FOUR five six, ONE two three FOUR five six.