• A Beginner’s Lesson On The Application Of Suspended Chords

    in Beginners,Chords & Progressions,Piano,Theory

    Post image for A Beginner’s Lesson On The Application Of Suspended Chords

    Our focus in this lesson is on the application of suspended chords.

    Suspended chords are used in a variety of popular music style; predominantly in rock music. If you’re a gospel musician, you’ll also need to learn how suspended chords are applied in contemporary christian music.

    Attention: This lesson is written with beginners in mind. Therefore, intermediate and advanced players might not benefit much from it.

    In case you’re just coming across the term “suspended chord” for the first time, I guarantee you that this lesson is specially dedicated to you and that’s why we’re starting out with the definition of suspended chords.

    “So, What Are Suspended Chords?”

    A suspended chord is a product of the omission of the third tone of a major or minor chord. For example, when the C major triad:

    …or C minor triad:

    …is played without a third tone, this produces C-G:

    …a perfect fifth interval.

    “But That’s Not All…”

    The omitted third tone is replaced with the following options:

    The second tone

    The fourth tone

    …and the replacement of the third tone with these options produces two suspended chord types:

    The suspended 2nd chord (sus2 chord)

    The suspended 4th chord (sus4 chord)

    Let’s take a closer look at these suspended chord types.

    Attention: To learn more about suspended chords and other chord types, I recommend that you get our 500+ page course: The “Official Guide To Piano Playing.” Click here to let us know.

    The Suspended 2nd Chord

    When the third tone of a major or minor triad is replaced with the second tone of the major or minor scale, this produces the suspended 2nd chord.

    “Take A Look…”

    Replacing the third tone of the C major triad:

    …which is E:

    …or the third tone of the C minor triad:

    …which is Eb:

    …with the second tone of the scale (which is D):

    …produces the C suspended 2nd chord:

    Every other suspended 2nd chord can be formed in this manner.

    The Suspended 4th Chord

    In the suspended 4th chord, the third tone of the major or minor triad is replaced with the fourth tone of the major and minor scale. In the case of the C major triad:

    …or C minor triad:

    …the third tone (which is either E or Eb) is replaced with the fourth tone of the C major or minor scale (which is F):

    …and this produces the C suspended fourth chord:

    Following the same procedure, every other suspended 2nd chord can be formed.

    Attention: Although there are suspended seventh chords and extended suspended chords, we’ll be focusing on suspended triads in this lesson because we’re covering the beginner’s application.

    Attention: To learn more about suspended chords and other chord types, I recommend that you get our 500+ page course: The “Official Guide To Piano Playing.” Click here to let us know.

    The Application Of Suspended Chords

    Suspended chords are neutral: they are neither major nor minor and this is because unlike other chord qualities, they don’t have a third tone.

    For the most part, the third tone of a chord is what determines its quality (whether it’s a major or minor chord).

    For example, the C major triad:

    …is a major chord because of the interval between its first and third tone (C-E):

    …is a major third interval. Consequently, it’s a major chord.

    The C minor triad:

    …is a minor chord because of the interval between its first and third tone (C-Eb):

    …is a minor third interval: consequently, it’s a minor chord.

    “Back To The Suspended Chord…”

    Suspended chords are neutral because the third tone is omitted; therefore, it neither has a major quality nor a minor quality.

    So, a given suspended chord can be played over a variety of bass notes and we’ll be learning how they can be applied over bass notes to form scale tone chords.

    As The 1-Chord

    The first tone of the C major scale is C:

    …and the C sus2 chord:

    …can be played as the right hand chord.

    Altogether, here’s the 1-chord:

    …using the C sus2 chord.

    As The 2-Chord

    The root note of the second tone of the C major scale is D:

    The C sus4 chord:

    …can be played as the right hand chord of the 2-chord.

    Altogether, here’s the 2-chord:

    …using the C sus4 chord.

    As The 3-Chord

    The third tone of the C major scale is E:

    …and the C sus2 chord:

    …can be played as the right hand chord.

    Altogether, here’s the 3-chord:

    …using the C sus2 chord.

    As The 4-Chord

    The root note of the fourth tone of the C major scale is F:

    The C sus2 chord:

    …and the C sus4 chord:

    …can be played as the right hand chord of the 4-chord.

    Altogether, we have two options for the 4-chord:

    Option #1 (with the C sus2 chord):

    Option #2 (with the C sus4 chord):

    As you apply them, you’ll know the difference between both of them and where you can apply them in songs as well.

    As The 5-Chord

    The root note for the fifth tone of the C major scale is G:

    The C sus2 chord:

    …and the C sus4 chord:

    …can be played as the right hand chord of the 5-chord.

    Altogether, we have two options for the 5-chord:

    Option #1 (with the C sus2 chord):

    Option #2 (with the C sus4 chord):

    As The 6-Chord

    The sixth tone of the C major scale is A:

    …and the C sus2 chord:

    …can be played as the right hand chord.

    Altogether, here’s the 6-chord:

    …using the C sus2 chord.
    Attention: To learn more about suspended chords and other chord types, I recommend that you get our 500+ page course: The “Official Guide To Piano Playing.” Click here to let us know.

    “Altogether, Here Are The Chords…”

    As the 1-chord:

    As the 2-chord:

    As the 3-chord:

    As the 4-chord:

    This:

    …or this:

    As the 5-chord:

    This:

    …or this:

    As the 6-chord:

    Final Words

    Using the basic application of suspended chords covered in this lesson, you can apply suspended chords in all the bass notes in the key of C major.

    After you’ve mastered the examples given, feel free to transpose these suspended chords to other keys as well.

    Keep up the great work!

    The following two tabs change content below.
    Hello, I'm Chuku Onyemachi (aka - "Dr. Pokey") - a musicologist, pianist, author, clinician and Nigerian. Inspired by my role model Jermaine Griggs, I started teaching musicians in my neighborhood in April 2005. Today, I'm privileged to work as a music consultant and content creator with HearandPlay Music Group sharing my wealth of knowledge with thousands of musicians across the world.

    Attention: To learn more about this, I recommend our 500+ page course: The "Official Guide To Piano Playing." Click here for more information.




    songtutor600x314-4jpg



    { 1 comment… read it below or add one }

    1 Reney

    Cool.
    Thanks.
    One love!

    Reply

    Leave a Comment

    Previous post:

    Next post: