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"Maiden Voyage" opening vamp: Dsus chord in D Dorian,[1] or mixolydian.[2] About this soundPlay 

"Maiden Voyage" is a jazz composition by Herbie Hancock from his 1965 album Maiden Voyage. It features Hancock's quartet – trumpeter Freddie Hubbard, bassist Ron Carter and drummer Tony Williams – with additional saxophonist George Coleman. It is one of Hancock's best-known compositions and has become a jazz standard.[3]

The piece was used in a Fabergé commercial and was originally listed on the album's master tape as "TV Jingle" until Hancock's sister came up with the new name.[4] In the liner notes for the Maiden Voyage album, Hancock states that the composition was an attempt to capture "the splendor of a sea-going vessel on its maiden voyage".

While being interviewed for KCET TV in 2011, Hancock considered Maiden Voyage to be his favorite of all of the compositions he had written.[5]


Opening chord: minor eleventh chord (Am9/D).[6]  Play 
Rhythmic ostinato, a transformation of the bossa nova rhythm.[7]

A modal jazz piece, the composition follows a 32-bar AABA form with only two chords in each section:[8]

Ami7/D   |   |   |   |   Cmi7/F    |   |   |
Ami7/D   |   |   |   |   Cmi7/F    |   |   |
Bbmi7/Eb |   |   |   |   C#mi9     |   |   |
Ami7/D   |   |   |   |   Cmi7/F    |   |   |   [6]

The chord voicings used by Hancock make extensive use of perfect fourths.'s Ted Gioia describes the harmonic progression used as, "four suspended chords," [9] Jerry Coker describes the progression as "only sus. 4 chords,"[10] while The Real Book lists the chords as four minor seventh chords with the bass note a fifth below the root[11] which matches Hancock's description of the opening chord (right).[6] The Real Book also spells the fourth chord (mm.22-24) as A-7/D,[11] while Owens spells it Cmi13.[12] The pitches of Cmi9 (ninth chord) are C E G B D and the pitches of A-7/D enharmonically, and Cmi13 (thirteenth chord), are C G B D F (A).


  1. ^ Herder, Ronald (1987). 1000 Keyboard Ideas, p.75. ISBN 978-0-943748-48-1.
  2. ^ Coker, Jerry (1997). Jerry Coker's complete method for improvisation: for all instruments, p.64. ISBN 978-0-7692-1856-4.
  3. ^ Carr, Ian; Fairweather, Digby; Priestley, Brian (2004). The Rough Guide to Jazz. Rough Guides. p. 332. ISBN 1-84353-256-5.
  4. ^ Rosenthal, David H. (1993). Hard Bop: Jazz and black music 1955–1965. Oxford University Press US. p. 68. ISBN 0-19-508556-6.
  5. ^ KCET
  6. ^ a b c Kernfeld, Barry (1997). What to Listen for in Jazz, p.68. ISBN 978-0-300-07259-4.
  7. ^ Kernfeld, Barry (1997). What to Listen For in Jazz, p.23. ISBN 9780300072594.
  8. ^ Kernfeld, Barry Dean (1995). The Blackwell Guide to Recorded Jazz. Wiley-Blackwell. p. 388. ISBN 0-631-19552-1.
  9. ^ Gioia, Ted (18 December 2007). "Herbie Hancock: Maiden Voyage". Retrieved 30 August 2010.
  10. ^ Coker, Jerry (1984). Jazz Keyboard for Pianists and Non-Pianists, p.46. ISBN 0-7692-3323-6.
  11. ^ a b The Real Book, Volume I. Hal Leonard corporation. 2004. p. 261. ISBN 0-634-06038-4.
  12. ^ Owens, Thomas (1996). Bebop: The Music and Its Players, p.164. ISBN 9780195106510.