Finger cymbals: A general term

Finger cymbals are a percussion instrument made out of wood, bone or metal, held between the thumb and fingers. They are clicked together in rhythm to dance.

The term "finder cymbals" is a general term as there is many styles and types of finger cymbals through out the world. Some terms used are:

  • Zils or Zills in Turkey
  • Sagat, Sunouj or Zagat in Arabic
  • Zang in Persia
  • Salasil in Iran/Persia
  • Chinchines in Spain
  • Zillia or Zilia in Greece

There is many different definitions of finger cymbals on the web, depending on the country. Here are a few given definitions:

A percussion instrument consisting of a pair of hollow pieces of wood or bone (usually held between the thumb and fingers) that are made to click together (as by Spanish dancers) in rhythm with the dance

An early Asian percussion instrument often used by female dancers. They are small non-pitched cymbals that are commonly attached to the thumb and middle finger of one or both hands and struck together in a specific rhythmic pattern.

Finger cymbals are called "zils" or "zills" in Turkey and "sagat" or "zagat" in Arabic. They are small metal disks, worn on your hands and played while you are belly dancing. Most belly dancers wear four of them: one on each thumb, and one on the middle finger of each hand. In Morocco, there is a style of playing the finger cymbals that employs only three finger cymbals: two on one hand, and one on the other hand.

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