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sus4 chord !!

Discussion in 'Ask Michael Dimin' started by Funkin'_Bassist, Feb 19, 2003.

  1. we was making a song and the key was a sus4 .. so I just wanted to know which scales to play with that chord or, what's commonly played with it
  2. Mike Dimin

    Mike Dimin

    Dec 11, 1999
    Sus 4 shord is a Dominant 7th chord. Root, 4th, 5th and b7th. Outlines the mixolydian scale

  3. NJL


    Apr 12, 2002
    San Antonio
    say you have a Csus4 - don't be afraid to use a C dorian scale on it or even an Eflat Major Pentatonic.

    as a chord, just as the last poster stated: root, 4, 5, minor 7

    just my $.02
  4. Mike Dimin

    Mike Dimin

    Dec 11, 1999
    By the way the last poster is me, Michael Dimin, the "Ask The Pro" of this forum.

    nojazzloco is correct. You can also play a C blues scale, C bebop dorian, C bebop mixolydian, Eb Major scale, Eb major bebop or a combination of these. But, Funkin'_Bassist, you have asked many questions here at my forum and I think that I have a good idea of where you're at in terms of your theory and practical knowledge. I would start with the C mixolydian and get a good sense of what the scale sounds like over the change. Get very familiar with that sound before you move on.

  5. NJL


    Apr 12, 2002
    San Antonio
    sorry, dude

  6. moley


    Sep 5, 2002
    Hampshire, UK
    I don't wish to disagree with you in your own forum, Mike, but surely, a sus4 chord is not necessarily a dominant 7th - and it depends on context?

    Say you're in C major, it's quite conceivable that you might end a sequence with a 4-3 suspension on chord I - thus, Csus4 C. In this case, it isn't a dominant 7th chord.

    If it was a C7sus4 however, obviously then it would be a dominant 7th chord. But my understanding is that 7sus4 and sus4 are not the same, and that a 7th is not necessarily assumed (and context would dictate it's 'ok' to assume a 7th).

    And further more, a sus4 chord in isolation doesn't tell you whether you're dealing with major or minor tonality - so how can it follow that a dorian for example, will necessarily fit? Again, I would have said it's a matter of context.

  7. Mike Dimin

    Mike Dimin

    Dec 11, 1999
    Anytime you want to get into a theory "discussion", feel free to disagree with me :D

    Let's take your example: A Csus4 chord in the key of C. The C would be a major triad and extended would be a major 7th. The relationship between the 4th of the C chord (F) and the major 7th of the C chord (B) is a tritone. That Csus chord is going to sound and act dominant chord (actually a G7)because of the need for the tritone to resolve inwards.

    I will stand by my orignal advice that the mixolydian mode is the appropriate scale form for a sus4 chod

  8. moley


    Sep 5, 2002
    Hampshire, UK
    Yes, I agree with what you're saying - you could say that the sus4 would be a substition for a dominant 7th.

    So, in this case, it would be the G Mixolydian which would be particularly appropriate for the chord. In fact, the 'clash' between the B from the G Mixolydian scale, and the C in the Csus4 chord would make quite a nice dissonance :)

    I assumed, from what you'd said before, that you meant the mixolydian scale on the root of the sus4 chord - i.e. on Csus4 play C Mixolydian - which is why I questioned it.
  9. Mike Dimin

    Mike Dimin

    Dec 11, 1999
    Perhaps I didn't explain myself well (my wife will vouch for that). The purpose of the previous post was to show why a chord ,functioning as the tonic, would not really be a sus4 chord. The sus4 chord is almost always a substitute for a dominant chord. My assertion was that if you try to make the tonic a sus4 chord, it will sound like a dominant chord anyway due to the tritone in the chord.

    In terms of functional harmony, any player hearing that tritone will hear the inward resolution of the tritone. You wouldn't play a C major scale over the Csus4, you would play mix.

  10. moley


    Sep 5, 2002
    Hampshire, UK
    Yes, but G mix, not C mix, right?
  11. Lovebown


    Jan 6, 2001
    I'm with Moley on this one. If I see a Csus4 (no dominant 7th included) I'd use a C Major scale (or G Mix if you will). Seing as the Sus4 works as a kind of substitution for the dominant chord , which in this case would be G7. And as a G7 includes G, B, D and F I would think it would be appropriate to use a scale that includes the B in other words C ionian / G mix.

    On the other hand if you're improvising and playing jazz a Bb could work too since it's a blue note.

    Just my take......

  12. Mike Dimin

    Mike Dimin

    Dec 11, 1999
    I am just not making myself clear. Here is a quote from Mark Levine's Jazz Theory Book. It is on page 43. I didn't post the figures but the text should be enough to make my point. The heading is:

    The Mixolydian Mode and the Sus Chord
  13. moley


    Sep 5, 2002
    Hampshire, UK
    Well, for one, Mike, I hadn't assumed we were talking about Jazz here.

    Before, you said:

    ...and then...

    Firstly, I wasn't suggesting you'd play C major. I was just questionning whether mix is always appropriate.

    However in the last part of that quote you neatly avoided saying *which* mixolydian you'd play :D

    Ok, now in those quotes you're saying the sus4 chord is acting as a dominant 7th, and the tritone wants to resolve inwards. Which which I agree. But the tritone you're talking about here is the F and the B, and the sus4 chord is acting as a substitute for G7.

    So, we've got ourselves a sus4 chord on the root, acting as a substitute for the dominant chord (G7). What you said earlier implied that over a Csus4 chord you'd use the C Mixolydian scale. Are you saying, here, that (in the key of C Major) - over our substitute for G7 - you would play C Mix?

    Another thought. Supposing we're in a minor key here, and we've got a sus4 chord resolving to the minor chord. E.g C7sus4 Cm7.

    Would you play C Mix?
  14. Wrong Robot

    Wrong Robot Guest

    Apr 8, 2002
    hmmm...I like sus4 chords :D
  15. LiquidMidnight


    Dec 25, 2000
    Hey Mike, that's interesting, I never really looked at sus4 chords as substitutes for dominant 7th chords. (I've seen dim chords used in place of 7ths) I'm going to have to explore that some more. Anytime I find out that something has another function it's cool to see what new ideas can come about it.

    A lot of times sus4 chords were resolve their 4ths down to a 3rd and I think that would help determine a scale. (and if you really wanted to get harmonically interesting, if the sus resolves to a major chord, you could play a minor scale over the sus4 chord then resolve into a major scale when the chord resolves to a major)

    Funkin', also remember that a sus4 chord is also enharmonic with a sus2 chord a 4th up. You can take advantage of that and make some intresting things happen.
  16. Mike Dimin

    Mike Dimin

    Dec 11, 1999
    That was more or less a rule in classical music. In pop music/jazz you have more "floating" sus chords (i.e. Maiden Voyage).

    The point I was trying to make is that a Csus in the key of C has an ambiguous quality about it, espcially if the maj7 is in the chord. Actually play the chord on a piano - it is not the most pleasing or common chord you'll hear

    Not all forms of music use the maj7 as the root chord. For example the blues uses a dominant 7th as a root. The chord scale there can be mix, blues, dorian or minor pentatonic (or a combination therein). Can there be a sus4 chord as the tonic where mix can and should be played, yup - in a blues. Is there a time where it is appropriate to play the ionian mode over a sus chord - not usually.

    Over at "The Lounge" you decried the use of mix over Maiden Voyage, but you did not tell us what you would play. There are some good reasons to keep the mix mode as part of the soloing ideas. Please tell my why you would avoid the mix in maiden voyage.

    I wasn't trying to avoid anything, I just assumed that you knew the *Truth* :spit:

  17. ZuluFunk

    ZuluFunk Supporting Member

    Apr 14, 2001
    Don't tell me after 21 years of playing I've got to learn this STUFF!!!!

  18. godoze


    Oct 21, 2002
    this thread beatifully illustrates the many reasons why I never get involved in theoretical debates with more than 2 other people !:D ;) :bassist:
  19. moley


    Sep 5, 2002
    Hampshire, UK
    Hah! Truth is subjective :D
  20. Phil Smith

    Phil Smith Mr Sumisu 2 U

    May 30, 2000
    Peoples Republic of Brooklyn
    Creator of: iGigBook for Android/iOS
    Just to add something else to the mix. ;)

    Herbie voices those Sus chords as slash chords i.e.


    This slash chord is dominant in function.