Finger Cymbal PATTERNS for Beginners

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Video PLAYLIST how-to play Finger Cymbals for Beginners
Zaghareet! Magazine (Nov/Dec 2009)
by Anthea (Kawakib)

The Challenge of Finger Cymbals!

  I’m thrilled so many of you are taking on the challenge of finger cymbals! I’ve also seen a resurgence of interest in the subject of finger cymbals in online forums and discussions. There’s just something special about them isn’t there?  Audiences of all ages are always fascinated with them, and often even expect to see dancers use them.  So keep honing your skills and get beyond the usual “Triples” pattern by trying the simple breakdowns we’ve had in this column over the past year.  (If you’re a new subscriber and missed the previous columns, Sharina graciously lets me post the published columns on my website - you can look them up there under “Articles”.)

  I’ll post one more Chifti-telli video clip online (youtube.com/DanceEternal), using the patterns from the previous-but-one article, at a faster tempo.  The faster pace will be a bit of a challenge for you I know, but we hope the previous clip at the slower tempo has prepared you for this.  
  The patterns are still pretty simple, and include the 1-3--1-3 or 1-3-1-3-1 patterns (for the first four counts of the rhythm); and then either Singles, Doubles, Rolls, or Triples - or combination thereof - for the Chifti-telli accents on counts 5, 6, 7.  I like breaking Chifti-telli into two 4-count segments as I’m dancing, it’s fun and it looks logical - maybe it’s a “musician thing”!

  But, as I said in my last column, I think learning cymbals this way (with random dance steps or combinations) is harder than the way I now teach them in class, by introducing them to students as we dance together with our repertoire of group improv combinations.  Since my Tribal Odyssey co-creator (Miramar of Winchester Va) and I are releasing the T. O. Level One DVD in 2010*, I thought it would be a nice bonus for Zaghareet! readers to feature the finger cymbal patterns we play in Tribal Odyssey, with the combinations from the DVD.  Of course the dancers in the performance clips on the DVD are not Beginners but are experienced performers (that is, they’re above Level One) so they all play cymbals when performing.  My Level One students do NOT play cymbals (my students don’t start finger cymbals until Level Two, after about a year of dancing).  So Zaghareet! readers are getting an EXCLUSIVE that’s not even on the DVD!
  So if you continue to learn with this column in the next couple of issues you’ll have a head start on the Tribal Odyssey format if you ever decide to try it.  This way when you learn the cymbal patterns and dance steps, you’ll be building a working repertoire instead of random combinations like we’ve done previously.  
  The video clip of steps and cymbal patterns that accompanies this article is #6. They are the same steps and patterns used previously (in #5) but at a faster tempo, and with quicker transitions and changes.  Increasing the tempo and changing more frequently is definitely more advanced, so if you’re still struggling at the slower tempo just stay with that for now.  
  The arm patterns flow from one position to the next more frequently, rather than holding steady for a long time.  Of course playing cymbals can be challenging when also doing arm movements, so you may want to stand in place and practise the arm and cymbal patterns without moving your body or feet.  Take a little bit at a time and get it right.  If you’re not sure about something let me know, I welcome any questions or comments.  See you next year!

*Tribal Odyssey BD combos are now available by on-demand videos: see the
Tribal Odyssey website TObellydance.com

Faster Chiftitelli Patterns Video (Youtube)
Video PLAYLIST of "how to play" Finger Cymbals Patterns for Beginners: Youtube.com/DanceEternal

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