Compound Time 7/8 Grooves

To identify whether a bar of 7/8 is in compound time use the same methods given in the previous lesson. So if quavers and semi quavers are mostly grouped in threes and sixes and the main snare beats are falling on '+' counts, the bar is most likely in compound time. A lot of dotted quarter notes is also a strong indication of compound time. You can think of compound 7/8 as 6/8 with an extra quaver count.

You would count a bar of compound 7/8 '1 2 3 4 5 6 7'.

Listed below are several examples of compound 7/8 grooves. As in the previous lesson, I have only used eighth and quarter notes for these grooves.

Example 1

A simple 6/8 pattern extended to create a 7/8 groove.

A compound 7/8 groove

Example 2

A similar pattern with more kicks added.

A compound 7/8 groove

Example 3

This pattern has the feel of being half compound half simple.

A compound 7/8 groove

Example 4

Things can get a bit weird when using dotted quarter notes on the right hand. By weird, I of course mean cool!

A compound 7/8 groove

Example 5

Another example using dotted quarter notes on the right hand.

A compound 7/8 groove


  • Learn the grooves above up to a tempo of at least 130bpm.
  • Think about fill construction in compound 7/8.
  • Create some 4 bar phrases in compound 7/8. For now, use three bars of a groove followed by one bar of a different groove.


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