#1
Playing along with a song which ends on a sustained Asus4 but the selfish artist in me keeps dropping the 4 down a semitone to make it A Major.

--------------
--------------
--7~~~6~~~
--7~~~7~~~
--7~~~7~~~
--5~~~5~~~

I played around with a few chords and I tend to love the resolution this single note gives to the chord. Keeping in mind the advice "play what sounds good", what's the theory behind this nice interval that's usually a minor spooky one?
Theory is just...wow. I'm getting a bit over my head by trying to learn so much w/o formal educators

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#2
I think the Asus4-A major "works" because the sus4 chord doesn't have a third in it, and you kind of expect to hear the third. You could treat the 4th as a non-chord tone, and the actual chord is A major.

Suspended chords weren't really originally used as separate chords. Actually to call it a proper "suspension", you need to prepare it. How to prepare a suspension?

The higher one is a C G C progression without a suspension, the lower one is a C G C progression with a suspension. As you can see, the suspended note (C) is part of the previous chord (which means the suspension is prepared) and is resolved down to B which is a chord tone.



This is just the most common way of using suspension, but it's not the only way to use it. A bit later people started using "appogiaturas", ie non-prepared suspensions. And today people use them as separate chords (one example that comes to my mind is "Wonderwall" by Oasis - F#m7-A-Esus4-B7sus4). You don't need to prepare the suspension. You don't even need to resolve it.
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Gear

Bach Stradivarius 37G
Charvel So Cal
Fender Dimension Bass
Hartke HyDrive 210c
Ibanez BL70
Laney VC30
Tokai TB48
Yamaha FG720S-12
Yamaha P115
Last edited by MaggaraMarine at May 13, 2015,
#3
I think it's just because the major chord is such a strong chord in terms of hitting all of the key fundamental harmonics of the root note, so it innately has a very strong settled, kind of perfect sound. When you play a suspended chord like that, you really want to hear that third because you are nearly playing that strong sound, except one note is slightly too high, by a semitone, so hearing it resolve down a half step is very satisfying. I think things like this also come from experience, hearing it very often, and kind of predicting it that way. Sort of like when someone says the name of a major US city might make you immediately think of the state it is in.

Quote by MaggaraMarine
I think the Asus4-A major "works" because the sus4 chord doesn't have a third in it, and you kind of expect to hear the third.

Suspended chords weren't really originally used as separate chords. Actually to call it a proper "suspension", you need to prepare it. How to prepare a suspension?

The higher one is a C G C progression without a suspension, the lower one is a C G C progression with a suspension. As you can see, the suspended note (C) is part of the previous chord (which means the suspension is prepared) and is resolved down to B which is a chord tone.



This is just the most common way of using suspension, but it's not the only way to use it. Today people use them as separate chords (one example that comes to my mind is "Wonderwall" by Oasis - F#m7-A-Esus4-B7sus4). You don't need to prepare the suspension. You don't even need to resolve it.


Interesting, I always wondered why they chose to call it suspended. For me, I often use the sus4 as simply another different dominant chord. So, it's just kind of a dom7 to me. Which means it is usually a Vsus4, and you can blend back and forth into the V7 if you want, or straight to the one. a V7sus4-I or Vsus4-I sounds great. I also consider this:

3
3
4
5
x
5

or

5
3
4
5
x
5

or

5
7
7
5
7
5


other options in that sort of family. That's if the Sus4, 7sus4 was an A, so,

5
5
7
5
7
5


or even

7
5
7
5
7
5


So many options all around there. I could list them forever. The dom7 area is oddly flexible. You'd think because it has such a strong resolution factor, that you'd be very limited for options if you wanted to keep that strong tension, but you are really not. I mean, you sort of are, but within that, there are a lot of options.

Whereas if you're playing over a IV, or in a IV role, the "selection" is much more limited.

What I never thought about before that Joe Pass does, is he will think of a 7Sus4 as a m11 in some grips at least. Which makes sense, since there is no 3rd there you'd play on guitar to identify them either way.

That guy actually has interesting take on guitar sort of "theory" with how he looks at substitutions and stuff.

Also, that wonderwall progression is actually pretty cool. I think it's that A drone he's got going that makes it all work great. Here, too, you can see he uses the V7sus4 for a dom7, except in this case, it's not diatonic, it's the harmony minor V, in the minor key.
Last edited by fingrpikingood at May 13, 2015,
#4
Yeah, if you study four part harmony, you'll see where suspensions originate from. It's just one voice continued into the next bar before resolving.

It's not just an isolated chord, but a part of a larger progression of voices (but like Maggara mentioned, today they're also used as separate, unprepared chords)

You can do multiple suspensions, it doesn't need to be sus4.
Last edited by Elintasokas at May 13, 2015,
#5
@ fingrpikingood:

Vsus4 going to I is an anticipation, not really a suspension. It's actually the same thing as suspension, but in reverse.

Here's both a suspension and an anticipation.

Quote by AlanHB
Just remember that there are no boring scales, just boring players.

Gear

Bach Stradivarius 37G
Charvel So Cal
Fender Dimension Bass
Hartke HyDrive 210c
Ibanez BL70
Laney VC30
Tokai TB48
Yamaha FG720S-12
Yamaha P115
Last edited by MaggaraMarine at May 13, 2015,
#6
Quote by MaggaraMarine
@ fingrpikingood:

Vsus4 going to I is an anticipation, not really a suspension. It's actually the same thing as suspension, but in reverse.



I see. I hadn't realize suspension was really a thing. I assumed they just called it that because the #3 wanted to become a 3, which had a kind of suspended sound. Couldn't figure out why they also had a sus2 though. But what you're talking about, leaving a drone there like that, makes the "suspended" term make a lot more sense. What's funny is that I never played it like that. On sheet music, or on a piano, if you play it that way, the suspended part is visually clear.

What about a vi-Vsus4-V? That uses the same drone.
#7
Quote by fingrpikingood
I see. I hadn't realize suspension was really a thing. I assumed they just called it that because the #3 wanted to become a 3, which had a kind of suspended sound. Couldn't figure out why they also had a sus2 though. But what you're talking about, leaving a drone there like that, makes the "suspended" term make a lot more sense. What's funny is that I never played it like that. On sheet music, or on a piano, if you play it that way, the suspended part is visually clear.

What about a vi-Vsus4-V? That uses the same drone.

Yes, it works just as well.
#8
Yep. Maggara and Elintasokas nailed this.
"There are two styles of music. Good music and bad music." -Duke Ellington

"If you really think about it, the guitar is a pointless instrument." - Robert Fripp
#9


That's vi - V7sus4 - V7 - Isus4 - I

As you can see, the first suspension in the iv - V is in the soprano (top voice) and the second one on the V-I progression is in the alto voice (second highest)

The flute is just there to emphasize the 4-3 suspension where the 7 of the V is continued into the next bar and it becomes 4 of the I, which then resolves down into 3.
Audio
https://www.dropbox.com/s/0esmbn582j55v9e/sus.wav?dl=0

You see, this is the difference between writing with chords + melody and four part (or any number of parts and doesn't need to be triadic btw) harmony.
Last edited by Elintasokas at May 13, 2015,