Suspended Chords: An Easy Way To Sound More Advanced

Suspended Chords: An Easy Way to Sound More Advanced

Adding suspended chords can quickly take a simple song and make it sound more advanced. And it doesn’t require years of music theory to understand or play.


If you are absolutely new to playing piano, please be sure to check out earlier article on putting chords together (part 1 and part 2) or the entire beginner piano mini-lesson series on YouTube. These articles and videos are building on each other with rhythm patterns, chord progressions and more.


“Typical” Chords

Up until now in our series, we’ve built chords on 1st, 3rd and 5th note of scale. And, we stayed with C Major for so long because all those notes will only be white keys. And, that makes it faster to teach you multiple concepts.

However, there are many, many ways to play even those 3 simple notes. But, more on that in a different article!


Suspended Chords

Chords (like people) come in many different shapes, sizes and sounds. This means that we can use suspended chords to add to the diversity of sounds we create when making new music or playing music from other composers.

These suspended chords are often called “sus chords” based on the text abbreviation used in music.
We ‘suspend’ a note from the chord to play a neighbour note … a note right next to it.
These around the middle note (2nd or 4th) or the top note (4th or 6th).

Rather than attempting to write out what this looks like, watch the video below for the full mini-lesson on suspended chords!

Chord Progression

The chord progression we are using is I – V – vi – IV. For the purposes of this video that is C Major, G Major, A minor, F Major.

P.S. This is the same chord progression used in our “Putting Major + Minor Chords Together – Part 1” video.

Improvisation

Here is a quick list of the ways we improvised in the video above.

  • Suspended 2nd: Left hand above middle C, chord bridges, right hand suspends the 2nd
  • Suspended 4th: Left hand low octaves (3x), right hand suspend 4th, go down, the up next time
  • Suspended 6th: Left hand low single note … right hand suspend 6th (hold 3 beats), down to 5th

Your Favourite Suspended Chords

I hope this very quick introduction has helped you out!

Did your improvised songs sound more advanced with these suspended chords? Which one created your favourite sound?


If you like this approach to learning piano, click to set up an interview to join our online piano studio!

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