Tip #224 – Using sus2 and sus4 Chords for Surprises

This is going to be a quick little informative tip:

In the past, we have talked about how the use of power chords can create ambiguity between the key possibilities because there is no third voiced to tell if it is major or minor.

In a similar fashion, using your tonic (or at least opening chord) as a sus4 or sus2 chord that gives you a “triadic” harmony without the third present can also aid in creating that key signature ambiguity while giving the harmony some color with the suspended notes.

Try using it as a tonic chord and experiment as to how you can resolve it in surprising ways.

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Tip #165 – Using sus2 Chords for Inner-Voice Movement

Say that you an “out-of-the-ordinary” progression that involves a descent of minor triads by whole steps.

So, that would be: Cm – Bbm – Abm – Gbm …

This parallel movement is irregular because there is no “standard” key that has more than two minor chords a whole step apart in a row.

However, you can make the progression sound really amazing by using sus2 chords in between.

To remind: a sus2 chord is when you replace the third of a triad with a M2 interval above the root.

By altering each chord to become a sus2 voicing, you create a chromatic line descending downwards that makes the chord progression become more interesting and flowing:

Try it out for yourself starting at different minor triads.

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