So, what's the difference between a Csus2 and a C9 chord? or a Csus4 and a C11 chord?
Csus2 is a C chord with a second in lieu of a third. In other words the third has been dropped and a second has been used instead. A C9 chord is a C7 chord with an added ninth. Although a better example would be "What's the difference between Csus2 and Cadd9?". It's simple. In one of them the third is substituted for the second and in the other one the second is just added.
A Csus2 chord means youre replacing the third of the chord with the second, so instead of C-E-G youve got C-D-G.

A C9 chord includes the 7th and the 9th, as well as keeping the third, i.e. C-E-G-Bb-D

A Cadd9 chord would be the same as a C9 except without the 7th; C-E-G-D

Same method can be applied to figure out Csus4 and C11.
(If you post what you think are the notes in Csus4 and C11 i'll tell you if youre correct )
Last edited by mishax92 at Jul 16, 2010,
Quote by mishax92
A Csus2 chord means youre replacing the third of the chord with the second, so instead of C-E-G youve got C-D-G.

A C9 chord includes the 7th and the 9th, as well as keeping the third, i.e. C-E-G-B-D

A Cadd9 chord would be the same as a C9 except without the 7th; C-E-G-D

Same method can be applied to figure out Csus4 and C11.
(If you post what you think are the notes in Csus4 and C11 i'll tell you if youre correct )

I've been wondering the difference between a C9 and a Cadd9 for a long time, thank you so much for clearing this up!
Quote by GreenDayFan16
A C9 is actually Cadd9, not Csus9. If it's Csus9, then nothing is different besides maybe the octave of the sus note. It's all the way you write it. Please correct if I am wrong.

Afraid not. A C9, believe it or not, is a C9.

Theres no such chord as a Csus9 as we call it a sus2 instead. The octave of the second/ninth interval does not matter, as long as C is the lowest note in the chord, being the root.

See my post above for the difference between it and a Cadd9.
Quote by GreenDayFan16
A C9 is actually Cadd9, not Csus9. If it's Csus9, then nothing is different besides maybe the octave of the sus note. It's all the way you write it. Please correct if I am wrong.

C9 is not the same as Cadd9. C9 is a C dominant seventh chord with an added ninth, whereas Cadd9 is a C major chord with an added ninth. There's a difference. Any time you see a chord that has just a number beside it you can be sure all of the scale degrees leading up to it are included in the chord. In an "add chord" which has an add# beside it you can be certain it has a root, third and fifth and then a ninth. The point is it skips the seventh. Also in Cadd11 you would be skipping the seventh and ninth as far as I know.
Last edited by Sóknardalr at Jul 16, 2010,
Quote by Sóknardalr
C9 is not the same as Cadd9. C9 is a C dominant seventh chord with an added ninth, whereas Cadd9 is a C major chord with an added ninth. There's a difference. Any time you see a chord that has just a number beside it you can be sure all of the scale degrees leading up to it are included in the chord. In an "add chord" which has an add# beside it you can be certain it has a root, third and fifth and then a ninth. The point is it skips the seventh. Also in Cadd11 you would be skipping the seventh and ninth as far as I know.

Correct
So a C11 would be C E G B F, while a Csus4 would be C F G?
You got Csus4 right

But a C11 would have the dominant 7th and the 9th and the 11th, basically all the odd numbered intervals before it.

C11 = C-E-G-Bb-D-F

Therefore a C13 = C-E-G-Bb-D-F-A

C13 are often avoided, due to them being quite dissonant.
Also you may be wondering HOW DO I PLAY THAT MY GUITAR ONLY HAS 6 STRINGS!?

To get around this certain intervals are often removed, quite often the fifth due to its least necessary nature to actually define the chord's tonality.
Last edited by mishax92 at Jul 16, 2010,
^^That would be called a CM11 (M=major m=minor) because you have used the natural 7th (The B note).

A C11 would have a b7th and a Cm11 would have both a b7th and a b3rd.
The two chords originally served two different functions.

In classical music, Cadd9 was simply an extended C major chord. Simple.
On the other hand, Csus2 was used to create tension; Csus2 would be played, and then an E would be played to resolve this tension.
Call me Batman.
Actually, they do make seven string guitars. So one could play the full C13, in theory.

Could you play these chords with two guitars, a synth, and a bass, having each play one note in the chord? Or are they too complex for that?
Csus2: C D G
Cadd9: C E G D
C9: C E G Bb D
Cmaj9: C E G B D

Csus4: C F G
Cadd11: C E G F
C11: C E G Bb D F
Cmaj11: C E G B D F

Suspended chords replace the third with either a 2 or a 4 (sus2 would be 1 2 5, sus4 would be 1 4 5). "Add" chords add a note (add9 would be 1 3 5 9).

9th, 11th, and 13th chords extend a chord by thirds beyond the 7th. So basically if you see a chord name and then 9 11 or 13, then they are extension chords. Let's take a few examples:

C9. An extension of C7 (C E G Bb). Extended to the ninth (1 3 5 b7 9 or C E G Bb D).
Cmaj9. An extension of Cmaj7 (C E G B). Extended to the ninth (1 3 5 7 9 or C E G B D).
Cmaj13. An extension of Cmaj7 (C E G B). Extended to the thirteenth (1 3 5 7 9 11 13 or C E G B D F A).

Hope that starts to make sense now.

Quote by The Hunger
Actually, they do make seven string guitars. So one could play the full C13, in theory.
In theory, yes. But in application, no. Even if you found a voicing it would probably be incredibly impractical.

Quote by The Hunger
Could you play these chords with two guitars, a synth, and a bass, having each play one note in the chord? Or are they too complex for that?
Sure. I don't see why you would though.
Only play what you hear. If you don’t hear anything, don’t play anything.
-Chick Corea
Last edited by food1010 at Jul 16, 2010,
Quote by food1010
Sure. I don't see why you would though.

I would to make them sound better then playing them with one guitar. I'm writing Melodic Death Metal.

So could I have a Cmaj13 chord with only 3 notes? Would it be C B A?
Quote by The Hunger
I would to make them sound better then playing them with one guitar. I'm writing Melodic Death Metal.

So could I have a Cmaj13 chord with only 3 notes? Would it be C B A?

No. At that point it's just a tone cluster.
So then how would I do a Cmaj13 chord with three notes? Or can I not?
Quote by The Hunger
So could I have a Cmaj13 chord with only 3 notes? Would it be C B A?
Maybe if the third was covered somewhere. Like Diminished said, C B A without anything else is basically just a tone cluster.
Only play what you hear. If you don’t hear anything, don’t play anything.
-Chick Corea
Quote by The Hunger
Actually, they do make seven string guitars. So one could play the full C13, in theory.

Could you play these chords with two guitars, a synth, and a bass, having each play one note in the chord? Or are they too complex for that?

Haha yeah I know, look at my sig, ive got one
Quote by food1010
Maybe if the third was covered somewhere. Like Diminished said, C B A without anything else is basically just a tone cluster.

Am I the only one who found the unintended pun in this?
It all depends on the function.

If you hear the 9th as adding color its probably a 9 or add9. If you hear it as unresolved tension (implying motion to/from a nearby pitch), it is probably a suspension.
Quote by MusicThinker
It all depends on the function.

If you hear the 9th as adding color its probably a 9 or add9. If you hear it as unresolved tension (implying motion to/from a nearby pitch), it is probably a suspension.

a 9 could just as easily be classified as unresolved tension -- unless you want to try to convince me that a C9 chord doesn't want to resolve to Fmaj (or, to a lesser extent, Fm).
Anfangen ist leicht, Beharren eine Kunst.
What's all this talk about chords resolving? Could someone please explain that? I feel like it's one of those things that you miss when you teach yourself.
Quote by The Hunger
What's all this talk about chords resolving? Could someone please explain that? I feel like it's one of those things that you miss when you teach yourself.

play a G7 chord, and then follow that with a Cmaj chord. play it a few times -- and notice that you'll hear instability in the G7 chord, like it wants to go somewhere else. then notice how that tension is released and stability is achieved when you strike the Cmaj chord.
Anfangen ist leicht, Beharren eine Kunst.
Quote by The Hunger
What's all this talk about chords resolving? Could someone please explain that? I feel like it's one of those things that you miss when you teach yourself.

It's like when you hear a story you want some kind of resolution in the end. A typical story structure would have three parts beginning, middle, and end. The beginning would normally involve some sort of introduction that sets the scene, the middle usually has some sort of "problem development" that creates tension, the end provides resolution and a sense of finality. It would often feel "wrong" if the problem was not resolved.

I remember going to see Pirates of the Caribbean II. I felt so dissappointed at the end because it just ended without resolving the problems that were set up. It ended and you still felt like it was incomplete - you had to wait until the third movie to get the resolution you were looking for. - Freakin rip off!!

The resolution we look for in music is similar. Like a story a chord progression will develop tension that we long to hear resolved. As an example lets take a simple three chord trick
I I IV V7 in A.

A A D E7

If you play that over and over you will hear that the D - E7 develops a sense of tension that wants to be resolved. If you play it over and over and then stop on the E7
A A D E7 A A D E7 A A D E7 A A D E7\stop\
you should experience a sense that it doesn't quite sound finished and a kind of longing to hear an A chord, the E7 is left unresolved.

If you play it again and this time end by strumming a final A it should give you a sense that it sounds complete or "resolved".
A A D E7 A A D E7 A A D E7 A A D E7 A

Try it and see. This is what it means to "resolve".

Similarly if you play an ascending major scale and stop on the major seventh (the leading tone) you will often hear the next note in your head even though it isn't played. This is because you have been led by the preceding 7 notes to expect to hear the octave note and when it doesn't arrive your mind anticipates it and fills it in. Try playing C D E F G A B and then C D E F G A B C and you will notice how it sounds resolved when you hit that final C but unresolved when you don't.

Listen to or play on your guitar some songs you know. See if you can identify the "tension" in the song. It will be where the song sounds like it NEEDS to go to the next chord. There should be a definite feeling that the tension has been heightened and needs to come back to solid ground again to kind of let you off the hook.

Best of Luck
Si
Last edited by 20Tigers at Jul 21, 2010,
^ surely it would have just been easier to say that IV-I or V-I cadences create a feeling of finality in a piece of music.
It would have, but then I wouldn't have learned as much. Thanks for the help.
9 has a 3 and i think a flat 7 (or maybe a 7, i forget). add 9 has a 3 and a 9. sus 3 just has the 9. (all of this of course has the 5 and 1)
edit: i meant to say sus 2
Last edited by TMVATDI at Jul 23, 2010,
Quote by TMVATDI
sus 3 just has the 9.

...what is this i don't even.
Anfangen ist leicht, Beharren eine Kunst.
Quote by AeolianWolf
...what is this i don't even.

oops, my mind was hella blank when i typed that haha. a "sus 3" sounds like just a major chord doesnt it?
well yeah i feel stupid.
sus 2 is 1-2-5, sus 4 is 1-4-5, major is 1-3-5, minor is 1-b3-5, add 9 is 1-3-5-9, 9 is 1-3-5-b7-9, augmented is 1-3-#5, diminished is 1-b3-b5, and then you can decorate those chords however you want as long as you think it sounds good, there thats everything the guy who posted the thread could need to know for now, but i shouldnt answer chord questions anymore because i might say something stupid like "sus3" lol
edit: so basically the difference between sus2 and 9 is that 9 has a 3 and a b7, sus2 doesn't. and an add9 is also different because it still has the 3, unless the chord is "5add9" which...wait...holy crap thats sus2, right? i just perplexed myself...
Last edited by TMVATDI at Jul 23, 2010,
Quote by TMVATDI
edit: so basically the difference between sus2 and 9 is that 9 has a 3 and a b7, sus2 doesn't. and an add9 is also different because it still has the 3, unless the chord is "5add9" which...wait...holy crap thats sus2, right? i just perplexed myself...
Yep.

sus2: 1 2 5
add9: 1 3 5 9
maj9: 1 3 5 7 9
Only play what you hear. If you don’t hear anything, don’t play anything.
-Chick Corea