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What does it mean when there is sus written after a chord? Does it mean to hold or sustain the chord?

Asked 2016-06-10T08:32:04.227Z by Gustavo W11

What does it mean when there is sus written after a chord? Does it mean to hold or sustain the chord?


2 Answers

Date | Votes
Reply — Posted 2016-06-10T19:37:51.37Z
Jeff E13,506
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No, It doesn't mean sustain. Sus is short for "suspended". all the names for chords are descriptive, meaning that you can derive the spelling of a chord from the name. The simplest description of suspending a chord is to replace the 3rd degree of a chord with the 4th degree. So if you are for instance playing a CMajor triad you have C,E and G as 1.3 and 5 if you replace the E with an F (raise the 3rd a half step) you have a suspended C or a C sus.



  • In addition to this, the suspension can go down as well. If you take the E natural in a CMaj chord, you have a Csus2, if you take it up to an F you get a Csus4.Caleb A 2016-06-10T22:00:55.857Z
  • There's no such thing as a sus2. Sus means exactly what it always has and that is suspended as in above. Putting 2 in place of 3 creates an add 9 chord. No disrespect to anyone. I just think this needs to be clarified for all.Rick C 2022-09-15T20:52:13.937Z
  • Rick, wouldn't an add 9 and a sus differ by the 3rd? so you could call a sus 2 an add 9(no 3rd)? I do see this usage a lot. People also will say add2 vs add9 to indicate where in the chord they want the D (in Cmaj) to go. Is this just bad nomenclature?Jeff E 2022-09-15T21:10:47.977Z
  • Hello Jeff, Hey this is great! A nonpolitical discussion over sus chords! Sus 2 is not standard chord nomenclature. You could have a chord with 1, 3, 5 and 9 and that would also be an add 9 chord. You could also have a chord with a 1, 9 and 5 and that would also qualify as an add 9. If you add in either a b7 or a 7 you'd have a 9 chord and a Maj 9 respectively.Rick C 2022-09-15T21:51:19.437Z
  • I've had people explain that to me before but I kinda don't remember the rational. I remember it making sense at the time. Sus 2 is used commonly enough that even wikipedia uses it. "A suspended chord (or sus chord) .... When using popular-music symbols, they are indicated by the symbols "sus4" and "sus2" Not to cite wikipedia as the ultimate answer for all things musical, but at some point when something is used by a certain critical mass it becomes accepted usage. Happens in language all thJeff E 2022-09-16T22:08:20.517Z
  • Well, one thing is certain. You and I can call it sus2 or add9; either way the audience won’t care!Rick C 2022-09-16T23:57:06.877Z
Reply — Posted 2017-01-28T06:36:32.210Z

Sus chords are especially usual in pop music. Sus is an abbreviation of ´suspended ´. In a theoretical feature what’s happening with the chord when you add sus to it are that the third note in the scale is flattened or raised one step. There are sus2 and sus4 chords. In the first case, the note is demolish and in the second case it’s raised.


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  • 2016-06-10T08:32:04.227Z
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