Request: Csus7 instead of C7sus

I prefer to write and display Csus7 for a C-F-G-Bb chord, but Dorico seems to want me to enter C7sus.

For starters, I’m unable to “teach” Dorico my preferred chord spelling in the Project Default Appearances. I’m not sure what I’m doing wrong, as I’ve done this successfully with other chords in the past.

But the preferred method would be to add this as an option in the Chord Symbols menu - the ability to place the sus before the 7. I know chord symbol formats are notoriously varied things, but I believe this is a reasonably common way to display this chord. It’s how I’ve always done it, and it’s how I’ve often seen it displayed elsewhere.


I don’t think I’ve ever seen this, and I think it’s misleading/confusing - sus7 sounds like “suspended 7th”. I’ve only ever come across C7sus4 or C7sus. Just gave my Real Books and Fake Books a quick look over - no sus7 chords.

New Real Book:

Funnily, a Google search for Csus7 turns up several images named Csus7, but showing C7sus in the actual image. (Of course, there also are some sites that do use C7sus, so I have to correct my previous statement - I’ve never seen this until today :slight_smile:).

Interesting. Well, I might be wrong. Darn it, I guess I’ve been writing them wrong my whole life!

The New Real Book’s nomenclature is based on the Brandt-Roemer nomenclature system. (They were LA copyists who wrote a book on nomenclature in the 1970s, which I never heard of before seeing it mentioned in the NRB. Sibelius offers it as an option.)

FWIW, Jamey Aebersold (renowned jazz educator and creator of the most extensive Play-Along library) prefers G-/C, but lists C7sus4 and C7sus as alternates.

Mark Levine (author of prominent jazz piano and jazz theory books) uses Csus.

I don’t recall seeing sus written before the 7 in any published charts, though maybe it’s out there somewhere.

I’ m a complete “beginner” at chord symbols, but Csus2 and C9sus are two different things (even though 2 and 9 are the same pitch). So by analogy I would expect Csus7 and C7sus to also be two different things.

Yes, Csus2 is C major with a suspended second (ninth), waiting for resolution to the prime (2-1). C9sus is a shorthand for C9sus4, so it’s a C major chord with an additional minor seventh, major ninth, and a suspended fourth waiting for resolution to the third.

A suspended seventh doesn’t really make sense. Both kinds of sevenths have their “suspendedness” built-in, a major seventh wants to resolve to the prime/octave, a minor seventh (F in a G7 chord) wants to resolve to the tonic’s third (E in C major), so “sus7” would be redundant.

C7 = Csus7
C7sus = Csus7sus4

Simple. Clear as mud…

… or (to be a real nitpick) to the third, as one can hear in the beginning of the second movement of Edvard Grieg’s Piano Concerto. :slight_smile:

I’ve also seen Csus4/7
or Csus4 with the 7 on top of the 4, like:


I’m sure we can come up with something even more complicated than these last two if we put our thinking caps on. :wink:

I have no idea what a suspended 7th is. I know a major 7th and a dominant 7th (aka simply as 7th). I have no idea what it would mean to suspend a 7th. It seem to me that these expressions (Csus and C7sus) always refer to the 4th being suspended, the only difference being whether or not the flatted 7th is played.

While there is some merit in the notation program allowing for variations in conventions, the program should encourage best practices. In my book, Csus7 is not a best practice. Indeed, I have never, ever seen that. C7sus is universally understood and seems like it ought to be sufficient, with C7(sus4) and other such variations being available.

My thinking had always been that, since C7 is a C triad plus a 7, a Csus7 would be a Csus plus a 7. As in [Csus]7.

But I think we’ve pretty well beaten the horse. I’ve already repented of my deviant chord notation. :wink:


You are of course correct. I mis-spoke.

Well, in the 18th century it was shown as “7 6” in figured bass, and was very common - sometimes there were several in succession, over a descending bassline.

In three-part harmony, it’s like this. Note, baroque composers didn’t bother much about the theoretical difference between major, minor, and dominant 7ths - they just called them all “7ths” most of the time.
I’m no expert in modern chord names - maybe you would call the first two chords something like Amsus2/C? The baroque guys always counted intervals from the bass note, not from the (theoretical) root of the chord. In fact, the first book on music theory which suggested “C E G” and “E G C” were really “the same chord” wasn’t published until 1744 (the author was Rameau) - and that crazy idea was considered to be avant-garde nonsense by some contemporary theorists!

Don’t dismiss that ‘nonsense’… listening to the partials shows CEG to be a lot more consonant than EGC. ETs have contaminated our ears.
A ‘7 6’ in figured bass usually indicates what we would now hear as a suspended second in a second inversion chord.

Steve, do you mean a suspended fourth as opposed to a suspended second? I’m puzzled…

Did you mean “first inversion”? Wouldn’t the second inversion equivalent be figured 74 6-? (the “-” meaning a continuation line for the “4”).

7 6 = 73 63, and 74 64, are both sensible harmonic progressions with the dominant of the scale in the bass.

I was thinking suspended fourth within a second inversion, for example GCF to GCE…

Ugh… not enough sleep… I did mean first inversion. And I did mean suspended second.