Suspended Chords (July 2015)

Suspended chords do not have a defining note that determines whether it is a major or minor chord. The 3rd note that defines the chord is missing.

There are 2 basic suspended chords:

sus2 and sus4.

Eg. Csus2 and Csus4.

The sus2 chord is formed by replacing the 3rd note of the major scale with the 2nd note of the major scale when locating chord notes.

The sus4 chord is formed by replacing the 3rd note of the major scale with the 2nd note of the major scale.

Simple replace the 3rd note of a chord with the 2nd or 4th:

Sus2 scale degrees 1 3 5 change to 1 2 5.

Sus4 scale degrees 1 3 5 change to 1 4 5.

The sus4 is less dissonant than sus2.
Sus4 is used more in popular music.

The sus2 chord structure in the key of C is:

C D G...1 2 5.

The chord structure for sus4 chord is:

C F G...1 4 5.

One way to use the sus2 chord:

Cmajor chord then Csus2 chord then Dminor chord.

Another very important use for the sus2 chord is that you can hold the chord through a complete chord progression.

Csus2 played over:

C Am F and G chords.

One way to use the sus4 chord:

Dminor chord then Csus4 chord then Cmajor chord.

The Csus2 uses the same notes as G sus4...try it.

There are options to extend the suspended chords:

C7sus4 is a dominant 7 sus4 chord:

C F G Bb.

C9sus4 is a dominant 9 sus4 chord:

C F G Bb D.

The sus2 chord may be extended also.

Cmaj7sus2:

C D G B.

C7sus2:

C D G Bb.

18 Jul 2015