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  1. #1
    Official BHUZzer Kat144's Avatar
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    Rhythm-learning questions...zills/doumbek

    So many questions, lol. Didn't see all of these addressed on a search...though maybe I didn't search for the right things. Guys, I am so clueless on ME music it isn't even funny. I am overwhelmed to pieces (and thank you thank you thank you for all the beginner music threads; how do you say "thank you" in Arabic? My teacher didn't know what basics she should recommend to me. So now I know what to go shopping for).


    Zills:
    1. Zill reqs. (I've got cheapos right now, four "kit" sets, and they work fine for me at the moment and I like practicing on them to try to get good sounds out of different types of zills, but I'd like to get something better) I've listened to the Saroyan zills on their site, and I like the lower-pitched, more mellow-sounding zills...in their "beginner zills" section it seems like these are the small Grecians.

    However, I've never heard the Turquoise zills, so maybe I'd like the sound of those better than Saroyans. Anybody know if there's a site somewhere that I can listen to the Turquoise zills? (I don't know anyone IRL with zills--I don't think my teacher plays)

    2. For the Turquoise if I end up liking those better...what size? I see they have a size A and a "size B Economy." Which is better? Does the "economy" mean the quality is not so good/metal is thinner, or just that they're slightly smaller than the regular size B? Is there a sound difference between the plain and oriental designs?

    (sound totally matters to me...I'm a music geek. Ideally I'd like to play a billion sets of all sorts of brands and types and then pick the one set that sounds best to me, but that's not going to happen, so I gotta do the best I can online!)

    3. How exactly do I "clang" my zills together? I'd been doing it with the two square on--all edges to all edges, like if your hands were zills, you'd put your hands together flat like in the "prayer" position--index finger to index finger, middle finger to middle finger, center of palm to center of palm.

    But I saw one video where the lady said that you play them offset--the edge of one to the center of the other, like if your hands were in prayer position but you slide one sideways a couple inches, so the thumb joint of one hand would be to the center of the palm on the other, if that makes sense. Oh, well, this video: [ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mHey4RBtTbM&feature=related]YouTube - "Belly Dance" Zills Sounds 1 for Beginners[/ame]
    Have I been doing it wrong all along? Back to the drawing board?


  2. #2
    Official BHUZzer Kat144's Avatar
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    Re: Rhythm-learning questions...zills/doumbek

    Doumbek:
    1. Where does one find these in person? Not necessarily to buy as I'm sure a brick-and-mortar would be more expensive than online and if significantly so, I'm afraid I'll have to support my wallet rather than local businesses. But just so I can maybe bang on a few and try them out and such and see if I even like having my hands on one before I decide for sure I want to learn? Can you find them at most regular music stores, or do you have to find one that specializes in middle-eastern music? What might I search for on yellowpages.com? (I'm in metro Detroit if that helps, if anyone has any reqs. I do drive through Dearborn, which has a pretty big ME population, on my way to work, so that might be my first bet)

    2. Or as an alternate to an actual doumbek...can I learn, well, without one? Mostly I am interested in learning the rhythms to understand the music better, which I realize I could probably bang out on a tabletop if I really wanted to...this is silly but can I play around with an oatmeal container or something? I'd like to get myself a shiny Alexandria, of course, and go whole-hog, but the budget isn't really there for a brand-new drum right now (alas, car comes first), especially since I'm not sure how much I'll like playing or how seriously I'll end up playing (but I also don't want to get a piece of crap that isn't worth putting my hands to just because it's 20 bucks, either).

    I've checked Craigslist and eBay...eBay seems to be mostly new drums with matching prices (I lament the fact that eBay is no longer like a giant global garage sale with people selling their used stuff), and CL has very little near me (and if I even convince someone to ship a drum, by the time I pay the shipping, even if the drum itself isn't costly, it might cost almost as much as a new drum anyway--I don't know how heavy these things are or how much they might cost to ship).

    (I also plan on looking around locally maybe--there's a restaurant in Detroit that has a drum circle, and I might show up there one night and see if anyone is teaching doumbek and might have one for sale or rent) Or should I just say "forget it, sister" until I save up some coin/Christmas comes around and I can just bite the bullet and get one? Is this the stupidest question ever that usually makes people like me roll their eyes and say "is this chick on crack?? Will she just buy the damn drum already?"

    Thanks, everybody. Sorry I'm so long-winded--I know that's a pain to try to read.


  3. #3
    Advanced BHUZzer catwomyn's Avatar
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    Re: Rhythm-learning questions...zills/doumbek

    As far as the zills go, you can play them either way. Try both and see what you like.

    Personally I like the Zildjians but they are pretty expensive.

    Michelle Joyce's Killer Ziller dvd is pretty useful and reasonable in price. She has you start out tapping the rhythms on your body.
    [ame=http://www.amazon.com/Killer-Ziller-Belly-Finger-Cymbals/dp/B001FSHM70]Amazon.com: Killer Ziller: Belly Dance Finger Cymbals: Michelle…[/ame]


    Drum - try the bigger music stores or maybe one near the university?


  4. #4
    Official BHUZzer coffeegoddess's Avatar
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    Re: Rhythm-learning questions...zills/doumbek

    Kat,

    I see you're in Michagan but I can't tell where. If you're in the southeastern area and would like to learn zills and drums, I highly recommend Aida Al Adawi. Check out her Facebook page if you're on there or aida for her website.

    I took classes with her back when I was in Michigan and she's a great teacher!


  5. #5
    Ultimate BHUZzer Tourbeau's Avatar
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    Re: Rhythm-learning questions...zills/doumbek

    Brand: Turquoise vs. Saroyan is a matter of taste. Personally, I think Saroyans are slightly nicer, but Turquoise is a good brand. Zildjians have a wonderful reputation, and Zorba recently started a thread about a vendor that had good prices on them.

    Technique: My first teacher taught us to make the ringing sound by hitting the edges of the thumb cymbals against the third-finger cymbals. I'm not familiar with anyone who plays the first style demonstrated in that video outside of doing wrist rolls and hand articulations while playing. My second teacher plays more of a clack/castanet style, which I think tends to be more common among non-dancing musicians. Really hardcore cymbal players will mix the various sound effects. Mesmera made the cymbal video for Harry Saroyan, so not to disparage the video you found on YouTube, but I think I would be more tempted to defer her and her video.

    [ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pWftbbKd5SU]YouTube - How To Play Finger Cymbals With Mesmera[/ame]
    [ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zMyD5OYD934]YouTube - Finger Cymbals/zills[/ame]

    Hadia and Momo Kadous have good videos on the market, too.

    Drums: I'm sure someone in Metro Detroit sells them--I just don't have a name of a vendor. A regular music store will probably sell at least a few kinds of goblet drums, although possibly more sub-Saharan African styles, though. Local music stores may have leads on teachers, too. Mid-East (Mid-East Music - Ethnic Musical Instruments - Mid-East Mfg) sells drums through the mail if you can't locate an in-town source, but you may still have a problem with trying to teach yourself. There are learn-to-drum videos on the market, but they won't give you the level of correction you'll get from a live teacher. Did you see this thread? http://www.bhuz.com/forum/student-ce...ng-dumbek.html

    Aida is definitely a great resource, because she can teach both students who don't know anything about music and students who want a higher, academic level of instruction. There are also plenty of web sites for referencing the various rhythms, such as Jas's (Jas's-- Middle Eastern Rhythms FAQ (for dumbec, doumbec, doumbek, arabic tabla, darabuka, tombak, zarb ...) : Rhythms for Dumbek and Belly Dance) and Maqam World (Arabic Music Links), and if you don't already own Hossam Ramzy's "Rhythms of the Nile," you might want to invest in it.

    If you decide to branch outside of the dance community, you may want to soft pedal your connection to dance until you have established yourself. It's not fair, but you're liable to be taken more seriously if you present yourself as a music student to musicians, than if you indicate up front that your primary interest is dancing.


  6. #6
    Ultimate BHUZzer steffib's Avatar
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    Re: Rhythm-learning questions...zills/doumbek

    I like my Turquoise zills, because the sound is pleasing to my ears and they happen to work best for the technique I find most interesting, which includes different sounds and volume effects. Economy B does not mean lower quality, it is a reference to a slightly smaller diameter than the B size.

    There are many ways of hitting one's zills - and in the end, what sounds good is the right thing to do. (To paraphrase what one of my favorite musicians said about percussion in general.) However, I have never been taught what the video you linked shows, and her technique is inconsistent with what I have learned from master cymbal players, who use the full on hit as basic stroke from which they add variations.

    I HIGHLY recommend Artemis' zills CD, it has been a tremendous resource for taking my zilling to the next level. She is one of the best and a fabulous teacher (and a wonderful person).


  7. #7
    Ultimate BHUZzer steffib's Avatar
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    Re: Rhythm-learning questions...zills/doumbek

    If you're a serious zill nerd, you will also find the follow-up CD to Artemis', Yasmin's sagat CD very interesting, it explores how different ways of striking the rims can produce different sounds. Cool stuff!

    There are many drummers in and around Detroit, one person I have heard good things about and whose drumming has impressed me in the past, is Rune, the drummer of Carnivale Mijoon - I believe he teaches, too. Check here to get in touch with him: About the Musicians (He is an American, I have only ever heard him play in an historical-reenactment-related context, and I do not know how natives from the lands of the dance may like his drumming.)
    Last edited by steffib; 08-14-2010 at 07:49 PM.


  8. #8
    A journey of ten thousand miles begins with a single post. Lauren_'s Avatar
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    Re: Rhythm-learning questions...zills/doumbek

    Quote Originally Posted by Kat144 View Post
    how do you say "thank you" in Arabic?
    Shokran or Shukran.

    In Arabic they don't really indicate short vowels, so it would be spelled something like shkrahn, that's why you'll see a lot of variations in spellings around vowel sounds especially. (well, actually in arabic everything is spelled squiggle squiggle line line dot dot, so there are a lot of liberties taken when transliterating into English).

    Same thing with drums, by the way. If you're googling for a drum, or for info, search for Doumbek, dumbek dumbec, etc.


  9. #9
    Official BHUZzer Kat144's Avatar
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    Re: Rhythm-learning questions...zills/doumbek

    Thanks, everybody! Yeah, I've been reading the threads around here about doumbek-ing, which is only intriguing me more, lol.

    Found that Guitar Center actually has doumbeks (though I'm quickly finding that calling them a darbuka might be a better move, as it seems a lot of people also call a djembe a doumbek) so I banged on a Remo for a bit today. Fun! Got to clang a pair of single-hole Zildjian cymbals too--whew, I'd never touch them again until I was a zill virtuoso!

    Hopefully eventually I'll be able to find someone who'll be able to give me at least a couple lessons on technique to get me started.

    As far as zills...yeah, I didn't find that lady's videos very helpful, but they were the first ones where I really saw close-up how she was holding them, so I thought maybe it was wrong. Now I know to stick to Anthea's videos. :)
    Last edited by Kat144; 08-15-2010 at 02:41 AM.


  10. #10
    Ultimate BHUZzer Tourbeau's Avatar
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    Re: Rhythm-learning questions...zills/doumbek

    Quote Originally Posted by steffib View Post
    There are many drummers in and around Detroit, one person I have heard good things about and whose drumming has impressed me in the past, is Rune, the drummer of Carnivale Mijoon - I believe he teaches, too. Check here to get in touch with him: About the Musicians (He is an American, I have only ever heard him play in an historical-reenactment-related context, and I do not know how natives from the lands of the dance may like his drumming.)
    I believe Tony Bahu is also based in Metro Detroit. I don't know if he teaches, though.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lauren_ View Post
    Shokran or Shukran. In Arabic they don't really indicate short vowels, so it would be spelled something like shkrahn, that's why you'll see a lot of variations in spellings around vowel sounds especially.
    "Shukran" or "shokran" is written " شكرا ", or sheen + kaaf + raa + alif with nunation, no "h" in the second syllable. Whether you transcribe the unwritten damma in the first syllable as "u" or "o" usually depends on your transliteration protocol and if you're trying to represent a variation in dialect pronunciation. You might also see it as "shoukran."

    Quote Originally Posted by Kat144 View Post
    Found that Guitar Center actually has doumbeks (though I'm quickly finding that calling them a darbuka might be a better move, as it seems a lot of people also call a djembe a doumbek) so I banged on a Remo for a bit today.
    Darbuka and doumbek usually describe the same type of ME drum, but a djembe is a West African drum, and it requires a slightly different technique when played properly.


  11. #11
    Official BHUZzer Kat144's Avatar
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    Re: Rhythm-learning questions...zills/doumbek

    Darbuka and doumbek usually describe the same type of ME drum, but a djembe is a West African drum, and it requires a slightly different technique when played properly.
    I know, and it's confusing! But I've found on some sites that sell drums, etc. that doumbek is often used for both and then you have to sort through. :( I even saw one that spoke of "doumbek- djembe" and "doumbek- darbuka."

    I think I'm going to look up Aida...she's not too far from me and she sounds like just the sort of teacher I'd like to have as well. I like my current teacher, but she is A. Not much into musician-ness I don't think so I have to separate music and dance, and also teaches close to my work rather than where I live and I'd rather find someone closer to home.
    Last edited by Kat144; 08-15-2010 at 03:30 PM.


  12. #12
    Official BHUZzer coffeegoddess's Avatar
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    Re: Rhythm-learning questions...zills/doumbek

    Rune is awesome! He was part of Aida's troupe for a while along with Marz and Richard who are also awesome. I know all three of them are working with quite few different troupes/musicians now. If he's teaching now I'd definitely recommend him as well.

    Just as an aside, if you do go with Aida be aware that they won't have classes while the Renaissance Festival is running. But if you can make it out there, make sure to see them. The troupe is the Middle Eastern Dance Ensemble.


  13. #13
    Ultimate BHUZzer steffib's Avatar
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    Re: Rhythm-learning questions...zills/doumbek

    Quote Originally Posted by coffeegoddess View Post
    Rune is awesome! He was part of Aida's troupe for a while along with Marz and Richard who are also awesome. I know all three of them are working with quite few different troupes/musicians now. If he's teaching now I'd definitely recommend him as well.
    Oh, yes, Marz/Mary/Zahira is a fabulous gal! She drummed for me last year at Pennsic, and I can't say enough good things about her skill and attitude. I am not quite sure whether she teaches - given her sense of humor, she would be great.

    And, taking at least a few doumbek classes is a very good choice for a dancer, even if one does not want to become a musician.


  14. #14
    Official BHUZzer Kat144's Avatar
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    Re: Rhythm-learning questions...zills/doumbek

    You guys are the best.


  15. #15
    Advanced BHUZzer leylalanty's Avatar
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    Re: Rhythm-learning questions...zills/doumbek

    I see you're close enough, so I'm adding a recommendation for Aida for zills and dancing too!


  16. #16
    Just Starting! Denisea's Avatar
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    Re: Rhythm-learning questions...zills/doumbek

    Z-Helene (Queen of Zills) is coming out with a 4-disc dvd set for beginner to intermediate dancers. The first 2 discs contain some basic dance instruction. Disc 3 is all about zills, including the different sounds you can make. Disc 4 is a zills choreo (drum accompaniment available as free download on her website). I've taken classes from "Z" and also previewed the set, so I can tell you that the instruction is sound & the choreo is good. If you master that, you might look into her "Intermediate to Advanced" dvd for some challenging patterns & a more difficult choreo. Michelle Joyce also has a "Killer Ziller" dvd, but I like Z-Helene's better.


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