Watch the Sus Scrofa: 5 online guitar lesson by Chris Buono from Guitar Cubed
Though we went over the explanation of a sus chord in Duffy’s Edge within the Guitar 1 breakdown, here it is again just tweaked to Sus Scrofa...
The term “sus” is an abbreviation for “suspended”. Looking at the first chord in Sus Scrofa Guitar 1 you’ll see a Gsus4. The note that has been suspended in the diatonically relative G minor chord is the b3rd (always will be in any case no matter what the quality, meaning you can replace a major 3rd as well), which in this instance is replaced by the 4th (C) hence the name--Gsus4. Looking further into Guitar 1 you’ll see two more sus chords in bars 2 and 4. The Gsus2 in bar 4 brings to light the notion sus chords come in two flavors with the other being one where the 3rd (either type) of the chord is replaced by a 2nd. As for bar 2’s Ebmaj7sus2, that tells us the concept of sus chords goes beyond triad formulae as evidenced by this tetrad.
Guitar 1 establishes two compositional constants with Sus Scrofa: common tone voice leading and Lydian. Check out the top note of all four chords and you’ll see there’s a constant 3rd fret D played on the 2nd string making for a common tone throughout all the chords. This approach is heard in Guitar 2 & 3 as well. In bar 3 we get our first taste of the Lydian mode (1 2 3 #4 5 6 7) by way of the A natural (#4 in the key of Eb) nested in the Ebmaj7b5. If you’re scratchin’ your head (told ya) it’s for good reason. How can there be a #4 with a chord whose name has a b5 in it. Simple, they’re enharmonics and Power Tab chooses not to provide an option for naming chords with any sort #4 nomenclature. So, the next best thing is to go with b5 and that’s exactly what I did.
One of the coolest things about Sus Scorfa is the beautifully compounding of harmonies throughout. The first instance is actually done by one guitar with the help of delay. After chugging through beat 1’s consecutive 16th note rhythm the chord is held for two more complete beats only to be choked on the downbeat of beat 4. It’s at that point the delay repeats are set free to trail over into the next bar where a new, very purposely constructed harmony is played thus creating powerful Lydian-based tapestries that are nothing short of brilliant sounding.