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How to play Asus4 or any Sus4 chord

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by pc2184034979, Nov 2, 2018.

  1. john m

    john m Supporting Member

    Jan 15, 2006
    Suspended note is often not voiced as the highest note, though it can be.
  2. SteveCS


    Nov 19, 2014
    Hampshire, UK
    Since we are chasing impossibly high standards, a major third can be raised to make an augmented third.
  3. jamro217

    jamro217 Supporting Member

    To maintain the continuum of each note being represented by a number ( Key of C: C-1, D-2, E-3...) the concept of raising a third would be incorrect. In practice the notes are enharmonic but on paper the numerical sequence is broken. This may not matter much to seasoned pros but to those struggling with theory it may be enough to send them off the cliff. It's often difficult enough to explain the nuances between common enharmonic notes such as C#/Db to students without clouding the water with dangerous shortcuts. If you use the raised third equals suspended fourth system for your own notation, fine, but when it comes to teaching it I'd be careful.
  4. Rayjay

    Rayjay If that’s even my real name.. Supporting Member

    Sep 27, 2014
    Lahaina, Maui, HI
    I was just going to say that. You cannot "sharp the 3rd" strictly speaking in music harmony terminology. A 3rd is either major or minor; a 4th or a 5th is either perfect, diminished, or augmented; and 2nds, 6ths, and 7ths can be flatted or sharped. It's just nit-picking semantics, but its universal language once you get to the college level coursework stuff. Of course, its enharmonic so you'll get the same notes on the FB in practice. Aloha!
    Reg Braithwaite and Ekulati like this.
  5. Rayjay

    Rayjay If that’s even my real name.. Supporting Member

    Sep 27, 2014
    Lahaina, Maui, HI
    BTW my favorite way to voice these chords on the bass is to leave out the 5th, and play an A on the bottom and the 3rd/4th an octave up (the 10th and 11th degrees of the A maj scale). It sounds good off the 5th fret or at the 17th fret an octave up.

    A7sus4 I voice A - G - D; either starting on the 5th or 17th fret, or this one you can leave the A open and grab the G and D up on the 17th fret. I like chords where the extensions are as far from the root as possible. This is one of my favorite voicings on the bass and I use it in a bunch of songs live.
    Jason Hollar and pellomoco14 like this.
  6. Add a b7 to a Sus(4) chord and you get an 11th chord. Add a b7 to a Sus2 chord and you get a 9th chord.

    I contribute this because many musicians do not know the difference between a Sus(4) chord and an 11th chord. That said, they largely serve the same function, that of a Dominant chord.
    jamro217, tradernick and Firewraith like this.
  7. Firewraith


    Apr 25, 2016
    East Tennessee
    I just wanted to say that as someone who struggled to understand theory for a long time I am appreciative when someone takes the time to explain things as precisely as possible. It is really helpful when historical context is included as well. For example, I never knew why they were called suspended chords until reading it in this thread.

    I can also understand why people want to use shortcuts, my word for it anyway, to help them understand what is going on. I do that too, but for me, understanding the correct academically accepted explanation helps immensely with keeping things consistent. In turn that makes understanding music as a whole easier (generally speaking).

    Once I have a correct understanding of the terminology and concepts I may create "shortcuts" to help me simplify or memorize the main idea. For example I can see where someone would say, "just sharp the 3rd to play a Sus4 chord". Its technically incorrect but if it helps someone remember whats going on I can see where they would use it.

    Anyway, I am getting off topic but my main point is say thank you to those that put in the effort to properly explain things.
  8. Element Zero

    Element Zero Supporting Member

    Dec 14, 2016
    Results null
  9. Real Soon

    Real Soon

    Aug 15, 2013
    Atlanta, GA
    Sorry, gonna go on a composition-degree-inspired ramble here....

    In theory terms, the function of a third and a fourth are completely unrelated; they're separated by a wall. Fourths were considered in ancient music a dissonance that had to resolve, usually downward, a fact that helped contribute to the development of the sus4 chord in modern, dissonance-friendly music. Note that that concept of fourths did not apply to inversions (where a 5th and octave of a certain key technically form a 4th), but only applied relative to a root and interval above it for the arcane purposes of the times.

    To help maintain a sense of role of each note in a given scale, each is either perfect or imperfect. 2nds, 3rds, 6ths, and 7ths are imperfect, and 4ths, 5ths, and octaves perfect. Functionally, only* perfect intervals can have diminished or augmented quality, and only imperfect intervals can have major or minor quality. If you try to augment a 3rd, you automatically get a perfect 4th in both sound and functional role.

    Sometimes, they can overlap, to keep things interesting. An augmented 5th has the same audible interval as a minor 6th, but its function in the harmonic context decides which it is.

    *Theory is weird mainly because harmony can be pretty weird, and for just about every rule, there's an exception somewhere. In C minor, you can slap a dominant 7th chord down on Ab, the 6th degree of the scale, and it sounds great in the right context, but it's NOT written as a dominant 7th and can't function like one unless you're a wild-eyed anarchist. Instead, it's a "German Augmented 6th Chord", German due to where it picked up popularity (vs the French & Italian flavors, I poopie you not), and an "augmented 6th" to describe its voice-leading behavior... despite the fact that in standard theory terms, an augmented 6th interval doesn't exist. Basically, this chord's existence is the only reason that interval name exists.
  10. Real Soon

    Real Soon

    Aug 15, 2013
    Atlanta, GA
    An accurate followup to my ramble right above this.
  11. SteveBass5

    SteveBass5 It all sounds the same, It's all one song! Supporting Member

    Aug 11, 2009
    This thread was educational and entertaining. Thanks!
    jamro217 likes this.
  12. bassstrangler


    Mar 2, 2015
    Slow day on the ol' TalkBass site. TalkChords site must be down too.
    Karl Kaminski likes this.
  13. nnnnnn


    Oct 27, 2018
    But if the 4th and 3rd are both included it's not a sus4 chord, you have to call it something else (add11?).

    (In modern music it's not uncommon for people to have no idea what notes are in chords. There are any number of tabs online where the individual notes are correctly notated but the chord names given are nonsense. I used to play with somebody who insisted that C7 and Cmaj7 are the same thing.)
    jamro217, Jim Carr and groooooove like this.
  14. Rayjay

    Rayjay If that’s even my real name.. Supporting Member

    Sep 27, 2014
    Lahaina, Maui, HI
    Correct. Andy Summers type clusters are one example.
  15. fakeneckplate'65

    fakeneckplate'65 Supporting Member

    Feb 4, 2014
    Columbus, OH
    So, you're actually curious about sus#3 chords?
  16. groooooove

    groooooove Supporting Member

    Dec 17, 2008
    Long Island, NY
    not to be "that guy" but,

    the term "sharpen the third" is incorrect - not just as far as chord spelling, but theoretically - it's the 4th scale degree, not the 3rd (assuming it's the I or tonic chord we are talking about) - it has tension that wants to resolve to that 3rd scale degree. it would be unlikely to see it written as an actual sharp 3rd - Cx (double sharp) - it's a D.

    the deeper you get into theory the more you'll see that exact spelling of chords is very relevant - an aug. 6th chord may sound like a dominant - but it is an entirely different animal!

    keep studying this stuff, it's really helpful no matter what music you are making.
    jamro217 and Jim Carr like this.
  17. Jim Carr

    Jim Carr Dr. Jim Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 21, 2006
    Denton, TX or Kailua, HI
    fEARful Kool-Aid dispensing liberal academic card-carrying union member Musicians Local 72-147
  18. jamro217

    jamro217 Supporting Member

    Alls we need now is f'some punk to bring up the mu chord. :banghead:
    joebar likes this.
  19. Yes, but in this context, it's not an augmented third.
    SteveCS likes this.
  20. I didn't quote, I made a parallell. My point is that OP also said "[if you raise the third] you get the same thing, just a matter of choice, substitute or sharpen". This is just plain wrong.
    tradernick likes this.

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