Your email address will not be published. Another way to use suspended chords is to borrow a trick from classical music. For example, replace a G chord with a Gsus4: C, Am, F, Gsus4, C. Suspended chords can be expanded beyond simple triads. Each of these letters may also be accompanied by a sharp (♯) or flat (♭). They work as interesting substitution chords, they can smooth out chord progressions, and they can add unexpected tension to your music. So, a C7sus4 would be voiced: C-F-G-Bb. These create a much more ambiguous and floating sound. This type of chord, known as dominant with a suspended fourth, usually appears replacing the second degree. The next thing they’re likely to learn is that by removing all fingers from that E string, they can play a Dsus2 chord. Just add a seventh note and you’ve got a fresh approach to a dominant chord. When using popular-music symbols, they are indicated by the symbols "sus4" and "sus2". For the left hand, use fingers 5, 4, and 1 for sus2 chords; use fingers 5, 2, and 1 for sus4 chords. You don’t have to use both kinds of suspended chords in the same song. Sus4 chords can be used on their own or in figures where the suspension resolves down to the third. The awesome power of power chords. So, we need to add this extension, forming the G7sus4(b9) chord. For example, this progression: People want that initial Gsus4 chord to resolve, and when it does, it’s very pleasing. 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). Now that we are more advanced, we will see the most common cases where these chords appear. First up is the Zombies, who used them all the time. In this context, the sixth degree is the relative minor. 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.) Examples of Suspended Chords. Here’s two of my favourite examples: Sus 4. Major 2nd or Perfect 4th. The uppercase letters you will see in chord symbols are C, D, E, F, G, A, and B. The lush world of eleventh chords “(They Long to Be) Close to You,” written by Burt Bacharach and Hal David. a little frilly something to add to your music. Related Posts 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. 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). If you were to refuse to resolve that chord, you leave people hanging. “Pinball Wizard,” by the Who, is a famous example of suspended chords alternating with major chords. In practice Suspended chords have the tendency to resolve. Known as ‘sus’ chords for short, they can be particularly effective in adding a melodic structure to a chord progression. 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). 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). Scott can be reached at storybookediting@gmail.com. They are the sus4 and the sus2 chords. Or is it one of the others that are most often suspended? Suspended 7 – Drop 2 Chords . Rock on! In classical compositions, a suspended chord features a note that is held over, or suspended, from the previous chord. The chord progression over the melody essentially goes from C (technically, Cadd9) to B. We will start with a common suspended chord format: the V7sus4 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… 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). Using one or the other is just fine. 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). It is these resolutions that can help determine if you are in fact using a Sus2 or a 2nd inversion Sus4. Suspended chords are mainly used to substitute minor or major chords, providing more interesting tones. Suspended Chords (or Sus Chords) are chords where the 3rd has been replaced by a 2nd or (usually) 4th. In this exercise, we are going to make use of 3 chords… These letters (with and without accidentals) represent all of the notes on the staff. I too have found sus4 and sus2 chords very useful in my own songwriting. There are actually three parts to a suspension: the preparation, the suspension, and the resolution. If the resolution were C minor instead of C major in the previous example, we would need to add one more tension note. 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). A suspended chord typically shows horizontal motion for voice-leading. Suspended chord shapes on the guitar can come in many different shapes and sizes. © 2019 Disc Makers Blog. 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. Another way to use suspended chords is to borrow a trick from classical music. Is the simple or obvious use: V, Sus I, I. 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”). You often hear dominant 9sus4 chords in jazz. His new audiobook, Rivals! Remember the major chords are made up of the 1st (or root) note, 3rd, and 5th. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. Suspended fourths (sus4) chords are more common than suspended seconds (sus2) chords. I’ll leave you with two great songs that feature prominent suspended chords. Sus2 chords work the same way, except the second degree of the scale is used in place of the third. Sus chords are often used in conjunction with their parent chord. As I mentioned above, simply alternating between suspended chords and major or minor chords can be a pretty fulfilling chord progression. 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. What is a Sus Chord? Knowing this, you can play with people’s expectations and create some nice tension. The music and tab below includes all the chords and inversions posted above using the C suspended 7 chord as an example. Take “(They Long to Be) Close to You,” written by Burt Bacharach and Hal David. 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. Sus2s want to resolve a little less strongly than sus4s, but they can still resolve up to complete a major or minor chord. All Rights Reserved. Playing suspended chords as open chords is very common on the guitar. The I chord, IV chord or V chord in a major progression. These types of chords can stand on their own, however, more often than not, they are used in a way that embellishes the parent. For example, the suspended fourth and second chords built on C, written as Csus4 a 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. Spice up your musical arrangements with substitution chords 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. Notice how this replacement looks: Great, this was a possible application for the suspended chord (replacing the second degree). 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.) 3. 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. It has been included to give context to the shapes above if you are not … 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. The i, or v chord in a minor progression? D-String . 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. ©2014-2020 All Rights Reserved - Simplifying Theory. I’ve posted a PDF with charts and more at my Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/posts/30192877 Get my Ultimate Modal Poster! 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. Brilliant article and analysis pointing to some tunes we all know and love. Using suspended chords in your songwriting. I’m wondering if some chords in a progression are more “suspendable”, as in what chords in a progression are most often suspended? You'll miss out on the with a suspended chord. 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. The song “Maiden Voyage” by Herbie Hancock uses extended (meaning with additional notes) suspended chords. Gnarls Barkley uses a G sus 4 to G in his wonderful song, Crazy. 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. Piano Suspended Chords (Sus2 & Sus4) There are two commonly used types of suspended chords. In the case of G, this “Ab” note is the flat ninth. Suspended fourths are abbreviated [key] "sus" [type of suspension], so a suspended second in G is abbreviated Gsus2, and a suspended … For instance, the C chord in bar 5 is approached from two chords higher (D and Db). Suspended chords. 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. Scott McCormick is a musician and the author of the Mr. Sus2 chords. 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. The sus2 chord replaces the third with the second note. A suspended chord—abbreviated sus on music sheets and tabs—is a musical chord which is a variation on the major or minor triads. 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). 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. 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. Two chords can make a song Would love anyone’s view on where these sus chords sit in the scheme of the key/progression. 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.). Suspended chords can be used in place of a major chord but not so much in place of a minor chord. Fingering suspended chords is easy. 2. For these chords, the major or minor third is omitted and replaced with either a perfect fourth or a major second. Here, suspending that note adds a yearning tension. You can always slide into chords from above and below. (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 about a millisecond after that, they discover that vacillating between a D, Dsus4, and Dsus2 is a lot of fun. Why do birds suddenly appear, — you’ll notice how harsh the progression seems. It looks to me like the major I chord appears a bit, which would make sense as we’re suspending the resolution. Suspended chords create dissonance and tension and are found in many popular songs. The components used to make them involve these intervals: Root. An Exercise With the Suspended Chords in A Major. — and suddenly the progression feels great. 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. 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. This can add urgency to your music without including chords that people might feel are “unpleasant.”. You also don't end a song with a suspended chord. 1. In fact, they are easier to play than barre chords. Therefor sus chords can be applied to both major and minor chords. 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. 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. 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. Basic G Triad = G B D 2. This “impact” of suspending it is usually explored when you want to keep the song without resting, giving an idea of “continuity”. Potentially it’s just any of the 6 main chords in a key could be suspended, I suppose! Frenemies Who Changed the World, has been described as “drunk history for middle-grade kids” and is available on Audible. Great, then it is explained: the G7sus4 chord has no tritone and has many notes in common with the Dm7 chord. When should a producer get a publishing split? Composers grew bored of endless, pure chords and wanted to … Suspended chords are a three-note chord used in countless forms of music. Using suspended chords will allow you to both expand your skills and increase your knowledge of your instrument. (15 seconds in). Or is it more likely one of the ii, iii, or vi chords that you would suspend? In classical compositions, a suspended chord features a note that is held over, or suspended, from the previous chord. Substituting a suspended chord for a major chord — and not resolving it — is a neat trick that can make a mundane progression sound fresh. Your email address will not be published. Csus2 = 1 - 2 - 5 = C - D - G. Csus4 = 1 - 4 - 5 = C - F - G; There is some controversy surrounding the use of Sus2. This trick can also be used to smooth out progressions that might otherwise feel awkward. Another very common use for the suspended chord is over the sixth degree chord of the major key. How the Suspended Chord is Made The basic definition of the suspended chord is taking away the 3rd and adding the 2nd or 4th. 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. A-String . The Mamas & Papas were famous for unresolved sus4 chords, which they often held to build the tension at the end of phrases. For example, a Csus4 is spelled C-F-G, and a Csus2 is C-D-G. 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. Required fields are marked *. Pants series of graphic novels for kids. (P.S. 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. 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. But the question still remains, “when do you use suspended chords?”. 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. Gsus4 = Gsus = G C D The sus4 chord is much more common than the sus2 chord, so the ‘4’ is often dropped. But suspended chords offer more than just being a little frilly something to add to your music. Perfect 5th. Another very common use for the suspended chord is over the sixth degree chord of the major key. 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. This is different than an “add” chord that uses upper-tertian harmony for color. With a minor chord, the important note is really the lowered 3rd. If you play those two chords and try to sing along —, Cadd9     B 2. However in modern day usage anything goes on where you should resolve your Sus chord. Hello, Scott. 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”. 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). 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. Are Made up of the major key, F, G, a suspended chord is over sixth... Degree ) advanced, we have not yet talked about the application of this type of chord since... 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Gsus4 chord to resolve a little frilly something to add one more tension note article! Fresh approach to a suspension: the V7sus4 chord not where to use suspended chords talked about the of! Third is omitted and replaced with either a perfect fourth or a second has! Notice how this replacement looks: great, this progression: people want that initial Gsus4 chord to,. Composers grew bored of endless, pure chords and major or minor triads There are actually three parts a! Minor progression are more advanced, we need to add this extension, forming the G7sus4 ( b9 chord. Can smooth out chord progressions, and when it does, it’s very pleasing in. Two commonly used types of suspended chords for middle-grade kids” and is available on Audible where should... Appears replacing the second note, or suspended, I suppose? ” by Foreigner, alternates between suspended minor!
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