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Suspended chords

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GUEST,Paul S at work 08 Sep 00 - 02:50 PM
Bert 08 Sep 00 - 03:16 PM
SINSULL 08 Sep 00 - 03:24 PM
hesperis 08 Sep 00 - 03:27 PM
GUEST,Luther 08 Sep 00 - 03:44 PM
hesperis 08 Sep 00 - 04:10 PM
Mbo 08 Sep 00 - 07:08 PM
GUEST,Luther 08 Sep 00 - 07:16 PM
catspaw49 08 Sep 00 - 07:23 PM
hesperis 08 Sep 00 - 08:00 PM
GUEST,Barry Finn 08 Sep 00 - 08:09 PM
MandolinPaul 10 Sep 00 - 08:58 AM
GUEST,leeneia 10 Sep 00 - 09:40 AM
GUEST,Lucius 10 Sep 00 - 09:50 AM
Bernard 10 Sep 00 - 11:21 AM
hesperis 10 Sep 00 - 02:39 PM
sophocleese 10 Sep 00 - 04:45 PM
GUEST,Luther 10 Sep 00 - 08:24 PM
Grab 11 Sep 00 - 10:39 AM
M.Ted 11 Sep 00 - 02:24 PM
GUEST 12 Sep 00 - 08:20 AM
M.Ted 12 Sep 00 - 11:28 AM
GUEST,Luther 12 Sep 00 - 01:01 PM
M.Ted 12 Sep 00 - 01:26 PM
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Subject: Suspended chords
From: GUEST,Paul S at work
Date: 08 Sep 00 - 02:50 PM

What'n hell are they?

Where'n hell are they used?

Paul.


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Subject: RE: Suspended chords
From: Bert
Date: 08 Sep 00 - 03:16 PM

They're used to hang bodhran players.


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Subject: RE: Suspended chords
From: SINSULL
Date: 08 Sep 00 - 03:24 PM

Oh! I thought this was a continuation of the "Tom Dooley" thread. Sorry.


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Subject: RE: Suspended chords
From: hesperis
Date: 08 Sep 00 - 03:27 PM

A C suspended chord is c,d,g with no e. It could also be c,f,g depending on which kind of sus chord it is.
The suspended notes in the chord resolve to the third, eg, c,d,g resolves to c,e,g.

Csus9 is usually C, possibly C7 with d instead of e, Csus4 is C with f instead of e. C7sus4 is C7 with f instead of e. Csus4sus9 is c,d,f,g.

Suspended chords can resolve to major or minor, or just go to another sus chord.

Is that more clear?
(Or have I just confused ya even more?)


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Subject: RE: Suspended chords
From: GUEST,Luther
Date: 08 Sep 00 - 03:44 PM

ah, I think that's more confusing.

A "sus" chord is just a chord with no third, and a fourth or second in place of the third.

"sus" by itself means the suspension is a fourth. If the suspension is a second, then the chord is labeled "sus2".
here are some examples, and their spellings:

C -- C E G

C sus -- C F G

C sus4 -- C F G (same as C sus)

C sus2 -- C D G

hesperis, the "sus" convention only applies to seconds and fourths, if you want to add a ninth to a chord with no seventh, it's designated as (chord name) add9.

just in case someone else posts while I'm typing this, the "more confusing" bit at the top refers to hesperis' post.


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Subject: RE: Suspended chords
From: hesperis
Date: 08 Sep 00 - 04:10 PM

The ninth is the same note in the scale as the second, and I was taught to use sus9. I have never seen a sus2 in sheet music, or in my lessons.

(Maybe this is a Canadian thing? Or a Royal Conservatory of Music theory class thing?)

I've also seen suspended chords with a seventh, like C7sus4. (C F G Bb)

(Maybe it's a piano thing? Pianos have more notes available at once than a standard-tuned guitar does.)

When I was talking about resolving the chord, I was talking about the classical music theory that I've learned.

Suspended chords are used by classical composers to add tension to a chord progression. The tension then resolves as the suspended note moves to the third. You hear it a lot in Mozart.

I don't know a lot of folk music. or guitar music, and would be interested to find out if guitar sheet music uses sus2 in place of sus9. (And what country you are from, Luther?)


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Subject: RE: Suspended chords
From: Mbo
Date: 08 Sep 00 - 07:08 PM

Hesp, we don't have sus9's--we have add9's. Example--Cadd9=CEGDE.


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Subject: RE: Suspended chords
From: GUEST,Luther
Date: 08 Sep 00 - 07:16 PM

Hesperis, yes, they are same pitch class, but a second is used as a "suspension", while a ninth is an ordinary chord tone in tertian harmony. I would be somewhat surprised to learn that this is different in Canada.

It looks like you've misunderstood what I meant by "ninth with no seventh". Maybe this will help:

C9 -- C E G Bb D

C sus9 -- C F G Bb D

C add9 -- C E G D

The "add" designation indicates no seventh. If the seventh is intended, then no further descriptor is necessary; "C9" implies the chord contains a seventh.

It really has nothing to do with piano v. guitar, or the number of notes possible on a particular instrument, these are just rules of naming, not performing. Voicing will vary, depending on whether it's a piano, guitar, horn or string section, whatever -- naming does not.
Yes, I understand how suspension is used in common-practice period music, like Mozart, the term "suspension" derives from the way these tones function in that music. In modern pop music, though, the resolution is not always made, the name remains, but the function is not always observed.
There are, of course, no ninth chords in the common practice period. You may find instances, for example, of the note "D" appearing over a C chord harmony, but this is analyzed as an appogiatura, not a ninth chord.
hope this helps a little, I really didn't want to get into this level of detail, as I don't think it's going to be very helpful to Paul S. ;)

Paul S, all you really need to know for pop songs is what I first posted. "Pinball Wizard" is one example of sus chords in a pop song.


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Subject: RE: Suspended chords
From: catspaw49
Date: 08 Sep 00 - 07:23 PM

Okay guys........Take G straight, suspended fourth, add nine, second sound............HUT..HUT

Spaw takes the snap and drops back rolling out of the pocket, pump fakes to "C," freezing the blitzing "B," and throws long to "a"..........TOUCHDOWN!!!!

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Suspended chords
From: hesperis
Date: 08 Sep 00 - 08:00 PM

Luther and Mbo - good explanations, both of you.

I am now going to try to track down my theory teacher, because he told me never to write them as sus2, but always as sus9. Maybe I misunderstood, or dyslexia'd it. ::shrug::

hesperis


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Subject: RE: Suspended chords
From: GUEST,Barry Finn
Date: 08 Sep 00 - 08:09 PM

I keep having this reoccuring dream that Bert's a sailor whose been driven to work in the mines so he hangs himself, before he dies he lets out an woeful note that's a suspended sea miner. That's for awful crack about the hangings of a bodhran player (heh, heh). Barry


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Subject: RE: Suspended chords
From: MandolinPaul
Date: 10 Sep 00 - 08:58 AM

Goddam! Those things sound awful! But I guess they could be useful as transitional chords.

Paul.


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Subject: RE: Suspended chords
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 10 Sep 00 - 09:40 AM

I vote with hesperis on the sus9 versus sus2 issue. By using 9, we state that the dissonent notes will be in different octaves, thus playing an interesting tangy sound, not an ugly, clashing sound.

BTW, I love the bodhran. Bodhrans are not only musical, they are pretty sexy.


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Subject: RE: Suspended chords
From: GUEST,Lucius
Date: 10 Sep 00 - 09:50 AM

I'm thinking of two examples of a Dsus. One is the opening to Neil Young's "When you Dance"; another is "Moonshadow". I'm sure there are tons more (I Need You - Beatles) but the important thing (Carry on - CSN&Y) to remember in this possibly overworked (Stairway to Heaven - Zepplin) chord is playing a standard D chord with an (Hold your head up -Argent) added G note on top of the chord--usally with the pinky. Oh somebody mentioned "Pinball Wizard".


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Subject: RE: Suspended chords
From: Bernard
Date: 10 Sep 00 - 11:21 AM

A suspended chord is a 'dissonant' sound which needs to be 'resolved'.

The commonest suspension in Classical music is the fourth, which resolves to the third -

C F G resolves to C E G.

Bach (for example) often added a suspended second -

C F G to C E G to C D G and back(h?) to C E G.

In reality you can change any note of a chord, but you will sometimes find it's not a 'sus' chord at all - if you move the G of a C triad up to A - C E G becomes C E A - you end up with the 'first inversion' of A minor... 'sus' chords are dissonant, not consonant.

I know I'm reiterating what was said before, but sometimes a different slant helps things (and sometimes it serves to fog!).


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Subject: RE: Suspended chords
From: hesperis
Date: 10 Sep 00 - 02:39 PM

Haven't found my theory teacher yet. Goldarned busy conductors! ......Anyway.

Suspended chords are among my favorite sounds. They're one of the least dissonant dissonances I know of. They add mystery, longing, smoothness to a chord progression.

Well, that's what I think...


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Subject: RE: Suspended chords
From: sophocleese
Date: 10 Sep 00 - 04:45 PM

I sawe a bit of a show with Joni Mitchell a while ago and she said she liked using 'sus' chords because they indicated doubt.


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Subject: RE: Suspended chords
From: GUEST,Luther
Date: 10 Sep 00 - 08:24 PM

oops, typo, second example in my last post should say "C9 sus" not "C sus9" -- jeez, I hate nitpicking, especially when it's my own post!

leeneia -- understand what you're saying, but it doesn't work that way. The chord name doesn't give the voicing, except in the case of "slash" chords where the bass is indicated, and then only the bass is specified -- kind of like Baroque figured bass. It's up to the player to be tangy or clangy, the chord name stays the same.

hesperis -- yeah, I like the sound too -- really just depends on context whether they need to resolve or not, these days they're a sound in their own right.

I think the standard reference on chord naming is "Standard Chord Symbol Notation" by Brandt and Roemer -- unfortunately I don't have a copy to check, but if you can't track down your teacher, your school library probably has the book.


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Subject: RE: Suspended chords
From: Grab
Date: 11 Sep 00 - 10:39 AM

Sus4 chord - think of the guitar riff in the intro to "Crazy little thing called love". That's going D, Dsus4, D.

One interesting thing you can do with sus2 and sus4 chords is make it unclear whether you're playing major or minor - this applies particularly to sus2 chords. Leave your finger off the top E string in a D or Dm chord, or your finger off the B string in an A or Am chord, and you get that interesting mellow sound.

Grab.


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Subject: RE: Suspended chords
From: M.Ted
Date: 11 Sep 00 - 02:24 PM

Luther, God Bless you and thank you for taking up this question, and bless you even more for actually being able to answer it--

I hope that you all appreciate that he has gone to a great bit of trouble to make clear, in writing, a very important musical idea that many of you were either A)not clear about B)Were mis-applying, or C) Completely misunderstood,, and that some of you had actually payed good money for someone to teach it to you (either in music classes or music lessons) and still hadn't gotten it right.

My two cents(I always have something to say) is that part of the reason for confusion on this point is that people confuse the explanation of what the guitar chord notation means with the theoretical explantation of what is happening in the music.

"Csus4" is not really a chord name, it is a description of a kind of harmonic movement that is happening horixontally in the music, but it is also convenient to use that name to describe the guitar fingering that is used when that kind of movement is happening.

It is entirely possible to use that same fingering(or the combination of notes, say "C-F-G" that goes with it) without having the "suspension/resolution" occur--


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Subject: RE: Suspended chords
From: GUEST
Date: 12 Sep 00 - 08:20 AM

Funny how out of context the chords I call the "jazzy" chords (and I guess the sus4 and sus2 fit into that category too) can sound really dissonant and you think, "What a piece of crap. Who'd use this anywhere?" To wit: Bdim7 (sorry, can't do the little "circle" symbol). By itself, it sounds so discordant. But sandwiched in between two other chords as a "transitional" chord, it works. For example:

Guitar: ...Bb(barre at 6th fret)--->Bdim7(barre at 7th fret; B,D,F,G#)--->Cm7(barre at 8th fret)--->F(barre at either 1st or 5th fret, your choice. Personally I like the sound of F at the first fret in this chord progression...sort of "finishes off" the progression )

And Voila! you have a chord progression often used to bridge two sections (e.g., verses) of a musical composition.

I am impressed easily by these magical devices.


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Subject: RE: Suspended chords
From: M.Ted
Date: 12 Sep 00 - 11:28 AM

The Dominant seventh chord is a diminished chord--B-D-F with an augmented fifth (G) added.

And the major third interval is actually a fairly dissonant sound. Don't believe me? play a C and the E above it together--Now play the E and the C above that together. If you try it with an Ab, you'll see what the problem is-- Play the third, Ab-C--Then play C-Ab. If you remember, Ab is also a G#--, so when you play (0r sing) a the third interval, you are actually also sounding an Augmented fifth interval.

Sometimes it seems like everything is dissonance.


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Subject: RE: Suspended chords
From: GUEST,Luther
Date: 12 Sep 00 - 01:01 PM

well, thanks, M.Ted! very kind of you to say that. I think you're right, a lot of confusion stems just from mis-interpreting the terminology, which can mean one thing in one context and something almost unrelated in another context.

Add to that the fact that real-life voicing is a world apart from theory class spelling, and it's not hard to see how things can get a bit muddled. ;)


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Subject: RE: Suspended chords
From: M.Ted
Date: 12 Sep 00 - 01:26 PM

And of course, guitarists are in a world of their own--most theory instructors explain harmonies and voicings from the keyboard rather than the fretboard vantage point.


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