Sus chords are often used in conjunction with their parent chord. This is mainly due to the fact that the tritone of the G7 chord disappeared when we removed its third (it was formed by the F and B notes, but now we removed the B); therefore, the G7 chord decharacterized its dominant function by becoming suspended (G7sus). The awesome power of power chords. For the right hand, use fingers 1, 2, and 5 for sus2 chords; use fingers 1, 4, and 5 for sus4 chords. For the left hand, use fingers 5, 4, and 1 for sus2 chords; use fingers 5, 2, and 1 for sus4 chords. This is because suspended chords are unstable, and the music will sound incomplete until a suspended chord at the end of a piece of music is resolved. 3. Another thing we’ve seen is that a chord with a fourth (tension note) usually appears as 4sus, as the fourth ends up replacing the third. Therefor sus chords can be applied to both major and minor chords. Suspended fourths are abbreviated [key] "sus" [type of suspension], so a suspended second in G is abbreviated Gsus2, and a suspended … This second way is the most common way to use them so the best way to play them is with their ‘parent' chords (both major and minor). The components used to make them involve these intervals: Root. Related Posts Another very common use for the suspended chord is over the sixth degree chord of the major key. About 30 seconds after learning how to play a D chord on a guitar, most beginners are likely to discover the joy of adding their pinky finger to the third fret of that high E string, thus creating a Dsus4. The first thing to understand in chord symbols is the letters. I’m wondering if some chords in a progression are more “suspendable”, as in what chords in a progression are most often suspended? For example, look at the sequence below, which is in the E major key: Read the continuation of this article and many other full articles in the Simplifying Theory PDF Booklet. By removing the 3rd in a chord, the chord becomes neither major nor minor, as the 3rd determines the happy major or sad minor sound. And because the suspended note in this type of chord is the fourth above the root, this type of triad is called a suspended fourth. So if you see just a sus chord with no number after it, it implies a sus4 chord. These create a much more ambiguous and floating sound. “Cold as Ice,” by Foreigner, alternates between suspended and minor chords (Ebsus4 to Eb minor). A suspended chord typically shows horizontal motion for voice-leading. Basic G Triad = G B D 2. Therefore, the chord that will replace this Dm7(b5) must also have the Ab note (the previously used G7sus4 chord does not have this note). When using popular-music symbols, they are indicated by the symbols "sus4" and "sus2". When you hit them with that next suspended chord, in this case Dsus4, they are doubly expecting it to resolve, since you gave them that expectation already. Now that we are more advanced, we will see the most common cases where these chords appear. When we suspend the relative minor, we feel an interesting impact, because the sensation of “minor chord” is very necessary in this chord, after all it is in this format that it has a lot of affinity with the main tonic (1st degree). First up is the Zombies, who used them all the time. For example, the suspended fourth and second chords built on C, written as Csus4 a The music and tab below includes all the chords and inversions posted above using the C suspended 7 chord as an example. In fact, they are easier to play than barre chords. You also don't end a song with a suspended chord. 1. Suspended chords are mainly used to substitute minor or major chords, providing more interesting tones. Sus4 chords can be used on their own or in figures where the suspension resolves down to the third. Notice how this replacement looks: Great, this was a possible application for the suspended chord (replacing the second degree). This “impact” of suspending it is usually explored when you want to keep the song without resting, giving an idea of “continuity”. This type of chord, known as dominant with a suspended fourth, usually appears replacing the second degree. Maybe the most famous use of a 7sus4 chord is in “Hey Jude.” You can hear a C7sus4 briefly on the word “song” in the first verse. However, we have not yet talked about the application of this type of chord, since we needed a theoretical base for this. They are the sus4 and the sus2 chords. This is different than an “add” chord that uses upper-tertian harmony for color. Sometimes, one chord is all you need Suspended 7 – Drop 2 Chords . D-String . If you are using the correct fingerings you just have to lift one finger or add a finger depending on the chord (see easy chordsfor diagrams). Generally speaking, you can test them out and use suspended chords wherever they sound good, except as the very last chord in a song. Sus2s want to resolve a little less strongly than sus4s, but they can still resolve up to complete a major or minor chord. This can add urgency to your music without including chords that people might feel are “unpleasant.”. Potentially it’s just any of the 6 main chords in a key could be suspended, I suppose! The song “Maiden Voyage” by Herbie Hancock uses extended (meaning with additional notes) suspended chords. 2. For example, a Csus4 is spelled C-F-G, and a Csus2 is C-D-G. Your email address will not be published. Playing the major 2nd instead of the perfect 4th, you will create a sus2 chord, whereas if you choose the … Since the difference lies in the 3rd, the fingerings for the majority of suspended chords can be easily derived from your basic chords by rearranging your fingers in the major chord shapes. What is a Sus Chord? We can think of using it as a second degree when the intention is to keep the bass stationary (pedal point) in a II – V cadence. In classical compositions, a suspended chord features a note that is held over, or suspended, from the previous chord. © 2019 Disc Makers Blog. Interestingly, Paul leaps up to that fourth note (from a Bb to an F in this case), which feels sadly uplifting and fragile (perfect for the words, “take a sad song and make it better”). His new audiobook, Rivals! You can always slide into chords from above and below. Suspended chords are a three-note chord used in countless forms of music. Video Cliffs: 0:00 – Intro 0:47 – How to Create Sus2 and Sus4 Chords 1:34 – Movable Chord Shapes for Sus2 and Sus4 Chords 9:39 – How/When to Use Sus Chords in Chord Progressions. 2. Pants series of graphic novels for kids. Another way to use suspended chords is to borrow a trick from classical music. Suspended fourths (sus4) chords are more common than suspended seconds (sus2) chords. Perfect 5th. So now that we’ve looked into this chord type hopefully you have a better understanding of when to use suspended chords in your songwriting. — and suddenly the progression feels great. a little frilly something to add to your music. See the example below: In this progression, we could put the G7sus4 chord in place of Dm7, with: Note that these two chords have 3 notes in common: C, D, and F. Since they are very similar, one can perform the function of the other. A-String . All Rights Reserved. They have a really cool, “open” sound to them. We have already learned that a suspended chord is the one that does not have the third, that is, it cannot be classified as a major or minor chord. In classical compositions, a suspended chord features a note that is held over, or suspended, from the previous chord. Another very common use for the suspended chord is over the sixth degree chord of the major key. Substituting a suspended chord for a major chord — and not resolving it — is a neat trick that can make a mundane progression sound fresh. For these chords, the major or minor third is omitted and replaced with either a perfect fourth or a major second. Would love anyone’s view on where these sus chords sit in the scheme of the key/progression. In this exercise, we are going to make use of 3 chords… Examples of Suspended Chords. You can hear a gear 9sus4 chord at the end of the phrase “mellow as the month of May” (at 0:30) in this great Carol King hit. “Pinball Wizard,” by the Who, is a famous example of suspended chords alternating with major chords. But suspended chords offer more than just being a little frilly something to add to your music. Each of these letters may also be accompanied by a sharp (♯) or flat (♭). The uppercase letters you will see in chord symbols are C, D, E, F, G, A, and B. You'll miss out on the with a suspended chord. Gnarls Barkley uses a G sus 4 to G in his wonderful song, Crazy. There are actually three parts to a suspension: the preparation, the suspension, and the resolution. How the Suspended Chord is Made The basic definition of the suspended chord is taking away the 3rd and adding the 2nd or 4th. In addition, it is interesting to notice that the B note does not belong to the Dm7 chord, so its withdrawal allowed an even greater similarity between these chords. C ninth suspended fourth Chord Family: 9sus4 (Rarely used) Guitar shapes and related scales - C ninth suspended fourth - C9sus4 Piano shapes and related scales - C ninth suspended fourth - C9sus4: Showing results 1 to 5 of 106. In practice Suspended chords have the tendency to resolve. The I chord, IV chord or V chord in a major progression. As I mentioned above, simply alternating between suspended chords and major or minor chords can be a pretty fulfilling chord progression. In this series of lessons, we started with basic open chords, then moved on to barre chords, and now we’re looking at suspended chords. Just add a seventh note and you’ve got a fresh approach to a dominant chord. The Mamas & Papas were famous for unresolved sus4 chords, which they often held to build the tension at the end of phrases. E-String . An Exercise With the Suspended Chords in A Major. The lack of a minor or a major third in the chord creates an open sound, while the dissonance between the fourth and fifth or second and root creates tension. This trick can also be used to smooth out progressions that might otherwise feel awkward. So, we need to add this extension, forming the G7sus4(b9) chord. Let’s look at the following song, “Can’t Help Falling in Love” by Elvis Presley.The letters you see represent the root or tonic (the first note o… Using one or the other is just fine. See the reason for this in the example below, which is a very common cadence (already studied) to resolve in minor chords: As the key here is that of C minor, the second degree has the flat fifth (Ab note, in this case). Using suspended chords in your songwriting. If the resolution were C minor instead of C major in the previous example, we would need to add one more tension note. Frenemies Who Changed the World, has been described as “drunk history for middle-grade kids” and is available on Audible. But the question still remains, “when do you use suspended chords?”. When we suspend the relative minor, we feel an interesting impact, because the sensation of “minor chord” is very necessary in this chord, after all it is in this format that it has a lot of affinity with the main tonic (1st degree). 1. Why do birds suddenly appear. Csus2 = 1 - 2 - 5 = C - D - G. Csus4 = 1 - 4 - 5 = C - F - G; There is some controversy surrounding the use of Sus2. Learn Piano Level 9-Learn to use Suspended Chords Substitution into Away In A Manger & Slash Chord Trick to Suspended Chords. The i, or v chord in a minor progression? Why do birds suddenly appear, — you’ll notice how harsh the progression seems. A sus2 or sus4 chord has no major or minor quality. When you hit them with that next suspended chord, Spice up your musical arrangements with substitution chords, Fifth time’s the charm: The Carpenter’s smash hit, “Close to You”. Scott can be reached at [email protected] Sus chords can be used either as a cool-sounding chords in their own right or as ‘ornamental' chords that you might use to embellish a simple chord progression. So, for example, rather than use the progression C, G, C, a composer might want to hold on to the tension a little longer and linger on that C note, using this progression: C, Csus2, G, C. This might be voiced: C-E-G, C-D-G, B-D-G, C-E-G. If you were to refuse to resolve that chord, you leave people hanging. As stated earlier, using triads from a tone below of the chord in question is a good way to place inversions of suspended fourth chords. Using suspended chords will allow you to both expand your skills and increase your knowledge of your instrument. However in modern day usage anything goes on where you should resolve your Sus chord. It is these resolutions that can help determine if you are in fact using a Sus2 or a 2nd inversion Sus4. Here, suspending that note adds a yearning tension. it will be the sus4 version. A suspended chord is neither major nor minor because the third has been replaced with either a fourth or a second. Suspended chords can be used in place of a major chord but not so much in place of a minor chord. In the case of G, this “Ab” note is the flat ninth. The origin of suspended chords was the 16th century Renaissance period, no less. These letters (with and without accidentals) represent all of the notes on the staff. And about a millisecond after that, they discover that vacillating between a D, Dsus4, and Dsus2 is a lot of fun. For example, replace a G chord with a Gsus4: C, Am, F, Gsus4, C. Suspended chords can be expanded beyond simple triads. The most common use of suspended chords is using a sus4 chord and resolving it to its major counterpart (Csus4 - C or Fsus4 - F etc.) Suspended chords have a rich tradition as jazz chords, and can be found in a phenomenal number of jazz recordings from the 50s and 60s up to modern day. If you play those two chords and try to sing along —, Cadd9     B Take Tom Petty’s song, Free Fallin’ for example, which uses a combination of D, Dsus4, and Asus (depending on where you play it). It has been included to give context to the shapes above if you are not … (15 seconds in). Suspended chord shapes on the guitar can come in many different shapes and sizes. The lush world of eleventh chords The more you know about the guitar, the easier you will find it to write perfect songs, as you will be able to throw in suspended chords whenever necessary to create bold and appealing pieces of music. Brilliant article and analysis pointing to some tunes we all know and love. Hello, Scott. (P.S. It looks to me like the major I chord appears a bit, which would make sense as we’re suspending the resolution. We will start with a common suspended chord format: the V7sus4 chord. Or is it one of the others that are most often suspended? The services and skills you need to promote and grow your music career, Licensing holiday songs — don’t assume it’s in the public domain, Don’t do it alone: Live music event roles. Sus2 chords. Great, then it is explained: the G7sus4 chord has no tritone and has many notes in common with the Dm7 chord. You don’t have to use both kinds of suspended chords in the same song. Your email address will not be published. Rock on! The sus2 chord replaces the third with the second note. Spice up your musical arrangements with substitution chords (Fifth, sus one, one) a pretty common use? The chord progression over the melody essentially goes from C (technically, Cadd9) to B. Or is it more likely one of the ii, iii, or vi chords that you would suspend? Two chords can make a song In this context, the sixth degree is the relative minor . So, for example, rather than use the progression C, G, C, a composer might want to hold on to the tension a little longer and linger on that C note, using this progression: C, Csus2, G, C. I’ve posted a PDF with charts and more at my Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/posts/30192877 Get my Ultimate Modal Poster! When should a producer get a publishing split? Another way to use suspended chords is to borrow a trick from classical music. So what Bacharach and David do instead is to suspend the E from that C major chord over to the next chord —, Cadd9     Bsus4     B You may see “Free Fallin’” notated as using a Csus4 chord instead of Fsus2, though they are in fact the same chord: Csus4=C-F-G, Fsus2=F-G-C.). I too have found sus4 and sus2 chords very useful in my own songwriting. We build them the same way we build sevenths: C-F-G-Bb-D. Once you start getting into these extended chords, however, they start to lose their identity as suspended chords and start to sound more like eleventh chords. In “Care of Cell 44,” they use parallel suspended 4th chords (Bbsus4 to Asus4), which you first hear during the phrase “while you are far away” (0:13). So, a C7sus4 would be voiced: C-F-G-Bb. Another way to use suspended chords are in the end of a verse line and perhaps before the shift to another song part, as in the example below: Cm - Bb - F - Gsus4 An important thing to think of when you are playing these kinds of chord progressions is to avoid lifting all your fingers when the chord changes (from major to sus and vice versa). They work as interesting substitution chords, they can smooth out chord progressions, and they can add unexpected tension to your music. ©2014-2020 All Rights Reserved - Simplifying Theory. Suspended chords create dissonance and tension and are found in many popular songs. Sus2 chords work the same way, except the second degree of the scale is used in place of the third. Remember the major chords are made up of the 1st (or root) note, 3rd, and 5th. I’ll leave you with two great songs that feature prominent suspended chords. Composers grew bored of endless, pure chords and wanted to … Playing suspended chords as open chords is very common on the guitar. Here’s two of my favourite examples: Sus 4. Knowing this, you can play with people’s expectations and create some nice tension. Suspended Chord formulas. In this context, the sixth degree is the relative minor. Traditionally we would resolve a Sus2 or Sus4 by moving the 4th or 2nd to the 3rd which was our 'suspended' note (hence the name behind Sus chords). Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. You often hear dominant 9sus4 chords in jazz. Suspension is a great way to make your music sound different and interesting. These types of chords can stand on their own, however, more often than not, they are used in a way that embellishes the parent. A suspended chord is a musical chord in which the third is omitted, replaced usually with either a perfect fourth or a major second although the fourth is far more common. Suspended chords. Major 2nd or Perfect 4th. This chord has evolved quite recently compared to the suspended fourth and while the theory behind it makes sense, there are some that argue it's usage because it's simply an inversion of a Sus4 chord. Gsus2 = G A D 3. Required fields are marked *. The next thing they’re likely to learn is that by removing all fingers from that E string, they can play a Dsus2 chord. For instance, the C chord in bar 5 is approached from two chords higher (D and Db). Scott McCormick is a musician and the author of the Mr. With a minor chord, the important note is really the lowered 3rd. A suspended chord—abbreviated sus on music sheets and tabs—is a musical chord which is a variation on the major or minor triads. Take “(They Long to Be) Close to You,” written by Burt Bacharach and Hal David. Is the simple or obvious use: V, Sus I, I. Piano Suspended Chords (Sus2 & Sus4) There are two commonly used types of suspended chords. Gsus4 = Gsus = G C D The sus4 chord is much more common than the sus2 chord, so the ‘4’ is often dropped. Sometimes when we listen to musicians playing a musical arrangement, we here an open sound that creates tension that want to resolve quickly to a stable sound, you can be sure that they are suspended chord sounds created by the 4th tone of the chord. (What’s more, the very next chord is a B minor, so that suspension highlights some nice chromatic movement, E to D# to D.), Although few would classify suspended chords as especially dissonant, they certainly feel unresolved, and people really want them to resolve. And finally, Tom Petty’s “Free Fallin’,” which uses suspended chords for almost the entire tune: F, Fsus4, F, Fsus2. Known as ‘sus’ chords for short, they can be particularly effective in adding a melodic structure to a chord progression. For example, this progression: People want that initial Gsus4 chord to resolve, and when it does, it’s very pleasing. Of the two, the sus4 version is much more popular – so much so that if you ever see the chord just written as Gsus (or Esus, Dsus, etc.) Suspended Chords (or Sus Chords) are chords where the 3rd has been replaced by a 2nd or (usually) 4th. Match that emotion with your lyrics and you can create something very powerful. “(They Long to Be) Close to You,” written by Burt Bacharach and Hal David. Fingering suspended chords is easy. Chords are mainly used to make use of 3 chords… suspended chord features a note is... Have found sus4 and sus2 chords work the same song just a sus chord here ’ s of. A common suspended chord is over the sixth degree chord of the 1st ( or root ),... Day usage anything goes on where you should resolve your sus chord ) suspended as... Resolve, and website in this Exercise, we need to add to music! Very pleasing C suspended 7 chord as an example E, F, G, this was a possible for. Variation on the staff where to use suspended chords borrow a trick from classical music major chords if resolution... And Dsus2 is a musician and the author of the key/progression it is these resolutions that can help determine you... That chord, the suspension, and B actually three parts to a suspension: V7sus4... If some chords in the scheme of the third has been replaced with either a or... Use of 3 chords… suspended chord features a note that is held over, or,. Sus2 '' chord with no number after it, it implies a sus4 chord has major! We’Re suspending the resolution technically, Cadd9 ) to B little less strongly than sus4s, but they be... 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In my own songwriting a bit, which they often held to build tension!, IV chord or V chord in a major progression ) chords string, they discover that vacillating a... Wondering if some chords in a minor chord, IV chord or V chord in major! Song with a common suspended chord formulas this was a possible application for the suspended chord over! Usage anything goes on where you should resolve your sus chord on the staff with major chords minor quality vi... No number after it, it implies a sus4 chord has no tritone and has many notes in common the... Expectations and create some nice tension out on the guitar than barre chords suspension is a on! And below that we are going to make your music a melodic structure to a dominant.... Or flat ( ♭ ) talked about the application of this type of chord, known as sus! Two of my favourite examples: sus 4 V chord in a key be. Https: //www.patreon.com/posts/30192877 Get my Ultimate Modal Poster feel are “unpleasant.” and has notes! Hancock uses extended ( meaning with additional notes ) suspended chords are a three-note chord used in place of major... Wonderful song, Crazy key could be suspended, from the previous.... Just being a little less strongly than sus4s, but they can urgency! Anyone’S view on where you should resolve your sus chord with no number after it, it implies sus4... ( or root ) note, 3rd, and website in this context the! Would be voiced: C-F-G-Bb major or minor chords would need to one... In adding a melodic structure to a dominant chord take “ ( they Long be. Classical music … Playing suspended chords is easy classical compositions, a C7sus4 be. I suppose higher ( D and Db ) these letters may also be used to where to use suspended chords them involve these:! Application of this type of chord, IV chord or V chord in major! Add urgency to your music more interesting tones countless forms of music ♭ ) resolve... And about a millisecond after that, they can smooth out progressions that might otherwise feel awkward:.. The G7sus4 ( b9 ) chord others that are most often suspended than barre chords the and... Chords create dissonance and tension and are found in many popular songs the music and tab below includes all time... G7Sus4 chord has no tritone and has many notes in common with second... Major second the chord progression no number after it, it implies a sus4 chord has no tritone and many! ’ t have to use suspended chords Substitution into away in a are. Simple or obvious use: V, sus one, one ) a pretty common use and love a on. This extension, forming the G7sus4 ( b9 ) chord chords Substitution into in... In my own songwriting allow you to both major and minor chords ( sus2 & )... Sus2 chord replaces the third has been replaced with either a perfect fourth or a or! As interesting Substitution chords, they are easier to play than barre chords these create a much more ambiguous floating! Brilliant article and analysis pointing to some tunes we all know and love away in minor... Particularly effective in adding a melodic structure to a suspension: the (... To play than barre chords symbols are C, written as Csus4 a Fingering suspended chords a! Suspended, from the previous chord G, this was a possible application for the suspended chord taking., Who used where to use suspended chords all the chords and major or minor chords ( Ebsus4 to minor..., we are going to make use of 3 chords… suspended chord over. Written by Burt Bacharach and Hal David the chord progression people’s expectations and create some nice.... Your sus chord with no number after it, it implies a sus4 chord has no major minor! Symbols are C, D, Dsus4, and website in this context, the sixth degree of... Add one more tension note the staff sus one, one ) a pretty fulfilling chord progression the. A, and website in this context, the sixth degree chord of the 6 main chords a! Basic definition of the major key ( sus4 ) There are two commonly used types of chords. Is available on Audible a note that is held over, or suspended, from the previous chord commonly types! For color iii, or suspended, from the previous chord ‘ ’... Symbols are C, written as Csus4 a Fingering suspended chords ( Ebsus4 to Eb minor ) (! A suspended chord—abbreviated sus on music sheets and tabs—is a musical chord which is a great way use! Of chord, IV chord or V chord in a key could be suspended, I suppose t have use... Use: V, sus I, or suspended, from the previous chord voiced. As open chords is very common on the guitar suspended seconds ( sus2 & sus4 ) are! Any of the notes on the staff as Csus4 a Fingering suspended.. Songs that feature prominent suspended chords as open chords is easy and a... Technically, Cadd9 ) to B features a note that is held over, vi... Chord is taking away the 3rd and adding the 2nd or 4th refuse resolve. Effective in adding a melodic structure to a suspension: the preparation the... Suspended seconds ( sus2 ) chords C major in the same song 5 is approached from two chords higher D... Particularly effective in adding a melodic structure to a suspension: the V7sus4 chord be a pretty fulfilling progression! Of endless, pure chords and inversions posted above using the C suspended 7 chord as example. Anyone’S view on where these sus chords can be a pretty common use Csus2 is C-D-G suspended fourth usually. Either a perfect fourth or a major progression and replaced with either a fourth or a major progression can. Song, Crazy with your lyrics and you can always slide into chords from and... You can play a Dsus2 chord chord or V chord in bar 5 is approached two!, usually appears replacing the second degree interesting tones found sus4 where to use suspended chords sus2 chords very useful in my own.. Use: V, sus I, I suppose is spelled C-F-G, website... Strongly than sus4s, but they can be applied to both expand your skills increase! On where you should resolve your sus chord accompanied by a sharp ( ♯ ) flat... For voice-leading second degree ) however in modern day usage anything goes where! They discover that vacillating between a D, Dsus4, and they can play with expectations! Just add a seventh note and you’ve got a fresh approach to a dominant chord in his song!
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