How to Play in 7/8 Time – Peter Martin | 2-Minute Jazz

Peter demonstrates how to play piano solos and comp over the barline in the complex time signature of 7/8.

What’s goin’ on everybody? Peter Martin here for Two Minute Jazz. I wanna talk to you today about playing in 7. Now, it’s fun to play in odd tempos, but it’s not fun to get lost playing in odd tempos. So I wanna give you just one little tip here for playing in 7. And that is: play over the bar lines. Okay? So if we’re going, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7: And that’s the groove. The tendency is to want to play your solo lines like segmented by bar because it’s stretching out so long. So it’d be like, 5, 6, 7:

Okay? But that actually makes it harder to play in 7, I’ve found, as opposed to playing over the barlines where you’re thinking more, or hearing it more: 5, 6, 7:

Then you can kind of come back to establishing the one at different times. So the way to get into this is to start by playing just over one barline, cause it’s hard to stretch it over many barlines. You gotta to get to the point where you really can feel that groove even when it’s, even when it’s not playing. So like right there, you might wanna take, just go over one barline. So I’ve got like:5, 6, 7:

And then I’m going to the next chord. But instead of playing the one, I’m gonna go: 5, 6, 7:

And then I’ll wait until I get the next, that third bar to play on the one, and kind of line myself up. Right?

So then once you kind of get to the point where you can spread it over a number of bars, and you trust yourself, you can really start to play with that time, kind of dancing around it, resolving it when you want to. But it all starts by playing over two bars, then you can learn to play over three bars, and then you can learn how to play over four bars. Alright? Happy practicing.

Want more instruction like this?

See all of the piano courses at Open Studio featuring full length lessons from Peter Martin, Geoffrey Keezer and more.