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Major 2 and Suspended chords


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#1 sjr2k

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Posted 20 January 2014 - 02:38 PM

In session 21 we are told “Any major or minor chord can be suspended by playing the 4th in the chord instead of the 3rd”.

 

In session 23 we are told “The MAJOR 2 CHORD is a three-note chord made by moving the 3rd of the chord down to the 2nd”

 

If moving the 3rd down to the 2nd creates a “2 chord” why wouldn’t moving the 3rd up to the 4th create a “4 chord” ?


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#2 Mystery

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Posted 21 January 2014 - 02:44 AM

Hello "sjr2k,"

 

In session 21 we are told “Any major or minor chord can be suspended by playing the 4th in the chord instead of the 3rd”.

 

In session 23 we are told “The MAJOR 2 CHORD is a three-note chord made by moving the 3rd of the chord down to the 2nd”

 

If moving the 3rd down to the 2nd creates a “2 chord” why wouldn’t moving the 3rd up to the 4th create a “4 chord” ?

 

Obviously, I am not Will Barrow, but here are some comments for your consideration.

 

In answer to your question, in a way, it does --- i.e. "moving the 3rd up to the 4th" creates what is called a "suspended 4th chord."  For example, Csus4 is such a chord.

 

Regrettably (IMO), common usage (e.g. laziness and/or a poor attempt at minimizing notation and/or reducing printing costs, etc.) names "suspended 4th chords" simply as "suspended chords," and they are likely to be notated without the "4."  So, for example, a Csus4 chord will often be notated simply as Csus.  That may cause confusion when reading music notation, because "suspended 2nd chords" also exist, such as Csus2.

 

In the L&M Piano course material, that Csus2 chord is referred to as a "Major 2 chord."  Whatever name is used for "suspended 2nd" chords, they can often add "pizzaz" to music when included appropriately.

 

Make mellifluous music!

 

Mystery



#3 BenBob

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Posted 21 January 2014 - 03:43 AM

Yeah, there are a lot of inconsistencies in naming chords and it can be confusing.

 

I think the big reason between the different notations for 2 and 4 chords is that a 2 (aka "9") is a whole-step away from the surrounding root and 3rd, while the 4 is a half-step away from the 3rd. Whenever the 4th is used, the 3rd is usually left out because of the resulting dissonance. Even when the 3rd is theoretically included, like in an 11 chord, it's usually omitted or you could say "suspended."

 

The 2 is different because it doesn't clash with the 3rd like the 4 does. If you use "C2" or "Cadd9," then the 3rd would probably be included. If the 3rd needs to be left out, you can use "Csus2."


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#4 sjr2k

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Posted 21 January 2014 - 02:24 PM

Thanks Mystery and BenBob was taking the time to answer my question.

If we suspend the 3rd and add the 2nd or suspend the 3rd and add the 4th

in a triad would a major chord still be major and a minor chord still be minor?


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#5 BenBob

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Posted 21 January 2014 - 05:29 PM

Thanks Mystery and BenBob was taking the time to answer my question.

If we suspend the 3rd and add the 2nd or suspend the 3rd and add the 4th

in a triad would a major chord still be major and a minor chord still be minor?

 

In and of itself, a sus4 or sus2 chord is neither major nor minor. But I think that in context of the key and progression it is probably going to be implied as one or the other.


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#6 sjr2k

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Posted 23 January 2014 - 05:30 PM

I ask because in session 21 it says “Any major or minor chord can be

suspended by playing the 4th in the chord instead of the 3rd”, but In

session 23 it says “The MAJOR 2 CHORD is a three-note chord made by

moving the 3rd of the chord down to the 2nd”. So I thought "sus2" chords

would always be major but the "sus4" chords could be major or minor.

 

 


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#7 BenBob

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Posted 23 January 2014 - 09:01 PM

Well, the answer is that you CAN suspend a minor chord as well as a major chord, and you can suspend them to either the 4 or the 2.

 

There are a few places where L&M is more focused on teaching practical guitar skills than on being rigorous in regards to theory. For example, the "Fsus" on pg. 44 is technically an F7sus. You wouldn't use that form freely for the I chord like you might with a basic sus4.


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#8 Mystery

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Posted 24 January 2014 - 03:17 AM

Hello "sjr2k,"

 

Thanks Mystery and BenBob was taking the time to answer my question.

If we suspend the 3rd and add the 2nd or suspend the 3rd and add the 4th

in a triad would a major chord still be major and a minor chord still be minor?

 

 

I ask because in session 21 it says “Any major or minor chord can be

suspended by playing the 4th in the chord instead of the 3rd”, but In

session 23 it says “The MAJOR 2 CHORD is a three-note chord made by

moving the 3rd of the chord down to the 2nd”. So I thought "sus2" chords

would always be major but the "sus4" chords could be major or minor.

 

 

As "BenBob" stated in an earlier post to this topic thread, "In and of itself, a sus4 or sus2 chord is neither major nor minor."  That is because, in such chords, there is no interval of a "third" (major or minor) that includes the tonic note of the chord.

 

With rare exceptions (such as for a "power chord," which is really an interval, consisting of only two notes, those at scale degrees 1 and 5 of a major scale), a chord will have three or more notes, including the note at scale degree 1 (the tonic note), the note at scale degree 3 or the flatted version of the note at scale degree 3, plus one or more other notes, all based on the major scale associated with that chord.

 

The notes at scale degrees 1 and 3 of a major scale form a "major third" interval.  However, the note at scale degree 1 in combination with the flatted version of the note at scale degree 3 of a major scale forms a "minor third" interval.

 

In general then, if not flatted when played in a chord, the note associated with scale degree 3 of a major scale indicates that the chord is a major chord, but if flatted when played, the chord is a minor chord.

 

Note: Chord formulas are based on major scales.  A "b" prefix to a scale degree is used to indicate that the note at that particular scale degree is to be flatted when played.  A "#" prefix to a scale degree is used to indicate that the note at that particular scale degree is to be sharped when played.

 

For example, a chord consisting of the notes at scale degrees 1, 3, 5 & 6 of a major scale, is a major sixth chord (such as F6, consisting of the notes F, A, C & D, based on the F-major scale).  If the chord consists of the notes at scale degrees 1, b3, 5 & 6 of a major scale, the chord is a minor sixth chord (such as Fm6, consisting of the notes F, Ab, C & D, based on the F-major scale).

 

I hope this quite detailed information helps to answer your questions about major, minor and suspended chords.

 

Incidentally, the Fsus chord referred to by "BenBob" is found on page 44 of the Lesson Book for the Gibson Learn & Master Guitar course.  An Fsus (a.k.a. Fsus4) chord consists of the notes F, Bb & C, which can be constructed using the chord formula 1-4-5 applied to the F-major scale.  The chord consisting of the notes F, Bb, C & Eb is named F7sus (rarely notated as F7sus4), and it can be constructed using the chord formula 1-4-5-b7 applied to the F-major scale.  The "b7" in this case refers to the flatted version of the note at scale degree 7 of the F-major scale (i.e. the flatted version of the note E).

 

Make mellifluous music!

 

Mystery



#9 BenBob

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Posted 24 January 2014 - 06:16 PM

The chord consisting of the notes F, Bb, C & Eb is named F7sus (rarely notated as F7sus4)

 

Sorry... a little off-topic but I think something useful to add would be when is this kind of chord appropriate? A dominant chord is usually the V chord of the key. So in Bb, you would use F7 before returning to the I chord, Bb.

 

I think the sus part sounds especially good when coming from a chord that has that suspended Bb note in it, like Cm7, Eb, or Gm. (ii, IV, vi). Then you can resolve the suspension to the V7 before final resolution to the I.

 

For example: Bb Cm7 F7sus F7 Bb


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#10 sjr2k

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Posted 25 January 2014 - 12:14 AM

I understand. Thanks again to both of you for helping me with this topic.


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