• It’s All In How You Look At It (Sus4 and Sus2 chords)

    in Chords & Progressions

    Wayne Dyer said: “If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.”

    It’s true in music too. Quite literally.

    Take, for example, suspended chords.

    If you ever see a suspended 4 chord (or “sus4”), it simply means to play the fourth instead of the third in a major chord.

    Here’s a regular C major chord:

    The “third” in this chord is “E.” (If you haven’t learned your intervals, you can use the search box in the upper right corner to find lessons on the topic).

    Instead of playing “E,” you’d simply play “F” (which is the fourth).

    This is a Csus4. Or Csus for short (if you ever see “sus,” automatically assume sus4).

    There’s also such a thing as a suspended 2 chord (aka – “sus2”). The concept is similar except you’re replacing the third with a second interval.

    So instead of playing the “E” in the C major chord:

    …you’d play “D”:

    Now, here’s where things get interesting with these two chords.

    How would you play a Gsus4?

    Step 1: Take a G major chord

    Step 2: Replace the third degree (B) in the chord with the fourth (C)

    Does this chord look familiar?

    Let me give you a hint.

    (Take the G off the bottom and put it on the top)

    It’s a Csus2 but has the same exact notes as Gsus4.

    That means, if you know your sus4 chords, you sort of automatically know your sus2 chords. They’re inversions of each other.

    Csus4 (C F G) = Fsus2 (F G C)

    Fsus4 (F Bb C) = Bbsus2 (Bb C F)

    There are many coincidences and tricks like this in music.

    It’s all in how you look at it!

    P.S. – What’s God’s Favorite Chord?

    Answer: Gsus!

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    Hi, I'm Jermaine Griggs, founder of this site. We teach people how to express themselves through the language of music. Just as you talk and listen freely, music can be enjoyed and played in the same way... if you know the rules of the "language!" I started this site at 17 years old in August 2000 and more than a decade later, we've helped literally millions of musicians along the way. Enjoy!

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




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    { 16 comments… read them below or add one }

    1 Claude

    Hi Jermaine, that’s a good post. One thing, I think, you didn’t add was that you can make both the sus4 and sus2 chords into quartal chords. Quartal chords are great, I like playing them. For example, in the example above the resulting quartal will be a D – G – C which would sond perfect on any of those major keys.

    Keep up the good work, God bless you.

    Reply

    2 Jermaine Griggs

    Thanks Claude. See this older post for the sus and quartal chord relationship:

    https://www.hearandplay.com/main/suspended-chords

    Reply

    3 Joseph Shonga

    Jermaine,
    These suspended triads are awesome I have tried them they fit anywhere whether biggining or ending the song .

    Reply

    4 Deon

    I LOVE suspended chords man, it really gives the chord a “what was that??” and A “that sounds weird..but it sounds RIGHT” type of feel! lol keep these posts up man. I Literally Have printed out virtually ALL of these lessons and have them in my 3-inch binder! lol I will soon be adding your 300pg course to my collection as soon as i get some extra cash!! lol Be Blessed bro

    Reply

    5 gerard

    enfin des artistes qui partages leurs arts, ici en guadeloupe il ya plus de salle de concert
    et je rrevi la musique avec vous

    Reply

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    11 princewill

    i cant play music with the ear or play the progression of a song

    Reply

    12 Lou

    Hi Nate:
    Love practicing, know major minor triads,read music fairly well, just feel like I am at a standstill. How can I progress and feel like I am learning about chords, application, etc. I have a good music background , still feel Like I am getting nowhere. Advice? Material I should purchase?
    Lou

    Reply

    13 Fabrice

    This is a great article Jermaine! But how are they used? how do you effectively use them in your music?

    Reply

    14 Hilma Plese

    What i don’t understood is actually how you’re not actually a lot more neatly-preferred than you might be right now. You’re very intelligent. You realize therefore significantly relating to this subject, produced me personally imagine it from numerous numerous angles. Its like men and women are not interested unless it’s one thing to do with Woman gaga! Your personal stuffs nice. Always maintain it up!

    Reply

    15 Moscales

    Nice work Sir. But pls I dnt undastand d last part of the post;
    ”P.S-….. ANS; Gsus” Is it God’s favourite chord???

    Reply

    16 mey

    Moscales, let me help: we pronounce “Gsus” the same as “JESUS”, don’t we. Excellent joke Maestro Jermaine☺ lol

    Reply

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