Can you play in 7? | Play Along on Violin Viola Cello

Can you Play in 7/4?

Want to try?

Expand your rythmic language with the free play-along series below

    • Level: All levels- but be ready to stretch your comfort zone.
    • Time: 5-15 minutes
    • Contents: 4 videos plus instructions
    • Scales used: A major (3 sharps- F# C# G#) AKA B dorian mode

D major (2 sharps- F# C#) AKA B aeolian mode (easy video only)


This series is more abstract than some of my other play-alongs which include popular tunes and takes on different styles, but if you’re up for something different, it’ll stretch you, in a good way.

It includes easy and advanced versions, plus a stand alone backing track video and an example solo.

Suggested steps:

To get the most out of this play-along series:

1. Begin by listening to backing-track below for 30-60 seconds and get the feel of the groove. If you want to count along, try quarter notes. Listen for the count during my verbal count in.
Video 1: Backing Track

2. Play a bit over the backing track if you’re feeling it- the key is B dorian (or A major: 3 sharps- F# C# G#)

3. Check out my example solo below if you want some inspiration or skip to the next step

Video 2: Example Solo

4. Give the advanced lesson (Video 3) a shot if you can- or if you’re just not comfortable, try Video 4 instead
Don’t get discouraged- bear in mind that it may be difficult to play the phrases back because the time signature is unfamiliar. But that’s exactly why I created this series, i.e., to give you the opportunity to stretch into an unfamiliar time signature. Feel free to rewind and try a few times.  Note: In the easy version I also used the key of D major ( F# and C# ). You can also use B minor pentatonic or F# minor pentatonic scales.
Video 3: Lessons (Advanced Version)

Video 4: Lesson (Easy Version)

How did it go? This is a more heady series than some of the others. For something more familiar, consult the master playlist and choose from Blues, Rock, Pop, Funk, Bluegrass, Jazz, Latin, R&B, as well as a bunch of popular tunes you may know.

You can also get the Custom Backing tracks and other lesson supplemental materials at this page too.

Go to the Master Playlist of 120 Play Along Videos Here

Want to get more resources?


Share these free play alongs with your students to:

  1. Develop your students technique, ear training, and theory in various styles
  2. Promote student independence. Your students can record themselves, reflect back and share their work.
  3. Save yourself time and stress of making your own materials from scratch
  4. Give students something different and fun to do- they’re short and easy enough for all levels

You can also use them as assessment tools by having students record and submit their work to you for feedback.

To help your students generate their own creative projects, learn improvisation, arranging, composition, and applied theory, consider licensing my courses for your entire class of students, and engage me to support you in managing their projects.

These are step by step online courses ready-made to help make online learning easier for you and more productive for your students. Learn more here or schedule a call with me to explore the possibilities.


Boost your learning by recording yourself playing along with the lessons and listening back to your work.

To get my support, consider joining Creative Strings Academy  or enrolling for our upcoming bootcamp starting Sept 1st.

Have a question? Email me at chris@christianhowes.com

Find the master playlist here. Or if you’d prefer to check them out directly on youtube, see this directory of playlists.

How did I come up with this series?

Years ago I played with Cuban-born drummer/composer, Dafnis Prieto. He won the McArthur aka “genius” grant while I was working with him in NYC. We toured the world with his quintet for a few years and, I can say without a doubt that those experiences and everything I learned from Dafnis taught me a lot about rhythm.

Anyway, given that Dafnis is a genius drummer who mixes Cuban and Jazz rhythms with an Avante-Garde compositional sensibility, I did a lot of counting, in the rhythmic sense.

Let’s just say his music made playing Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring seem like Twinkle…

It took a while for me to be able to count without getting thrown, as if by a wild horse, by his beats. But after MANY gigs, I morphed into a different state of awareness, and began feeling it.

That’s when I realized that rhythm is very much something one must feel through immersion, with AND, just as importantly, without analysis. Counting can only take you so far in playing with a strong sense of rhythm. Studying and playing with Dafnis allowed me to get out of my head and to get away from counting.

In part to give you the chance to experience this type of catharsis, albeit riding a much a tamer horse,  I made the series of play-along lessons above.

Thanks Dafnis!

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