Suspended Chords on Piano

How do you play a suspended chord?

There are two kinds of suspended chords.  There’s a 4th and a 2nd.  You’ll see them these ways:

C suspended 4th = C F G
Csus4 or Csus

C suspended 2nd = C D G
Csus2

Notice what’s going on?  The middle note of a “C” major chords is simply being moved either up or down the major scale. 

*Members can click this link for video lessons about suspended chords.

Suspended Chord Theory

The perfect 4th interval in suspended chords is the reason for their unique sound.

Csus4

C to F = Perfect 4th
F to G = Major 2nd

so

C to F to G = Perfect 4th + Major 2nd

NOTE: Also shown as P4 + M2

You can also look at the intervals going off of the root note:

C to F = Perfect 4th (P4)
C to G = Perfect 5th (P5)

Csus2

M2 + P4
or
C to D = M2
C to G = P5

When to Use Suspended Chords

These are great to use in certain styles such as Modern Country, R&B, and Worship.  If you want certain styles to sound right, this is a great tool to know!

*Members should also check out the Magic Shape.

Suspended 7th Chords

C7sus

You will typically add in the flatted 7:

C F G Bb

A good rule about 7th chords to remember is that unless it has “major” in the spelling (CM Cma Cmaj…) it will usually be a flatted 7th that you play.


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