"Maiden Voyage", a Herbie Hancock composition recorded in 1965, is a perfect tune to get us started with improvising over sus7 chords.
There are only 4 different chords in the whole tune, and all of them last for 4 consecutive measures. That gives us plenty of time to really hear the sound of each chord.
Those chords are:
Note that depending on what chart you are looking at, that last chord can be also be written as a sus7 chord:
C#sus7 (or Dbsus7)
There is a minor 3rd in the melody (E natural) which is why the chord can be thought of a min7 chord and not a sus7 chord.
You might also see our sus7 chords written as slash chords, again depending on the chart you have.
Remember that for example, Dsus7 = Am7/D
The form is AABA
In previous articles, I already discussed a few ideas for improvising over sus7 chords (you can find them listed at the bottom of this page). What I thought I would do here instead, is show you a couple of tips (or "tricks"...) that are specific to the chord sequence of "Maiden Voyage".
On the first chord, Dsus7 we can remember to play from a C Major Pentatonic scale, and simply switch to a C minor Pentatonic scale when going to the next chord, Fsus7.
That's a very easy thing to do for the A section then: just go back and forth between the parallel Major and Minor Pentatonic scales-- starting from the same C root.
We can even use the same approach with arpeggios from that same C root:
CMaj7 or just a C Major triad over Dsus7
Cm7 or just a C minor triad over Fsus7 (even though we will be missing the sus4 tone if we only use the Cm triad on that last Fsus7).
Now, for the next section, we can come up with another easy to remember approach:
We can play:
Db Major Pentatonic over Ebsus7
Db Minor Pentatonic over Dbm7 (C#m7)
There again, for the B section too, we get to play Major and Minor Pentatonic scales starting from the same Db or C# root.
And we may do the same with arpeggios:
DbMaj7 (or Db major triad) going to Dbm7 (or Db minor triad aka C# minor triad).
There you go!
OK now: I gave you those simple ideas as a way to get started, but please, do not stop there. Once you feel comfortable with the form and the general sound of the tune, do explore some of the other concepts I presented in the following articles on sus7 chords:
Sus Chords (Part I)
7th Chord Upper-Structures & Subs For Dominants (Part II)
Chords & Scales
Pentatonics For The Sus7 Chord
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