In my last chords tutorial, I covered some basic music theory tips to help you write better chord progressions for electronic music. The things we covered were voice leading and inversions using triads to help make your chord progressions stronger and flow better.

In this video, we’re going to add another music theory weapon to your arsenal: sus chords. Last time we’d created some nice voice leading which strengthened the chord progression. We originally had no common, linking notes. Then we chose better chords and used inversions to get the common notes into the same place in the chord. But, we had a problem. This chord progression loops and the final chord doesn’t share any common notes with the first chord. Sus chords can help us fix that in a bit of a sneaky way.

All we do is create a common note by moving the middle note in the triad. This is called a sus chord. It stands for “suspended”, where you take the middle note in the chord and suspend it up or down. Now, we have two choices, up and down. So there are actually two types of sus chords. There’s a sus2, which takes the 3 and moves it down to the 2. And the sus 4, which takes the 3 and moves it up to the 4. You can see how either of these will create a common note with the next chord.

The chord symbols look like this:

  • Gsus2
  • Gsus4

Notice there’s no major or minor? That’s because what makes a chord major or minor is the 3rd, the middle note. It’s what gives it the chord quality, the feeling, if you will. Sus chords are missing the third, so they sound more open and neutral, but they also have the two adjacent notes, so that creates tension. This makes them great options to quickly link two other chords together.

music theoryIf you like what I’ve covered here today and you want to get deeper into Music Theory, then definitely check out Michael Maricle’s Music Theory course on our sister site Warp Academy.

 

Music Theory is specifically designed to help you learn how music works, and is ideal for anyone new to music theory. Not only will you learn the basics, but also the fundamental theory concepts that provide deeper, and more useful understanding. Watch the introduction and free preview videos here!

 


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