How To Play A Suspended Chord

Sus4 chord on C About this sound play ( help ยท...Image via Wikipedia

The suspended chord (sometimes called a suspended 4th chord) is constructed from the major scale using the first (1), fourth (4), and fifth (5) notes of the scale. The symbol for this is the letters sus (or sus4), placed after the letter name of the chord. There are two inversions for each suspended chord that you should practice and become familiar with, using both left and right hands. This is a major chord with the fourth substituted for the third.

In root position:

Symbol Notes in Chord

Dsus D G A
Asus A D E
Gsus G C D
Fsus F Bb C

Unlike the V7th chord, which leads back (resolves) to the I chord (In the key of C, G7 resolves back to C), the suspended chord resolves to the same major chord it is derived from. Gsus resolves to G, Dsus resolves to D, regardless of the key of the chord progression. Sus chords are useful for making accompaniment more interesting when there are long passages of a song using one chord. Instead of playing a C chord for eight bars, you could add a few Csus chords.

So, here are more sus4 chords in root, first and second inversion.

Dsus4 = D G A
Dsus4 = G A D (first inversion)
Dsus4 = A D G (second inversion)

Then, we have:

Dbsus4 = Db Gb Ab
Dbsus4 = Gb Ab Db (first inversion)
Dbsus4 = Ab Db Gb (second inversion)
D9sus4 = D G A C E

Now, we have:

Esus4 = E A B
Esus4 = A B E (first inversion)
Esus4 = B E A (second inversion)

You can listen to suspended notes in use in songs like Free Falling by Tom Petty. They are useful when you have a song that makes use of one chord for a long time. You can also listen to suspended tones in worship songs like Jesus Mighty God.

Suspended second chords are merely inversions of suspended fourth chords. These chords are often found in folk music & popular music. A jazz sus chord is a dominant seventh chord with an added fourth (Gsus, for example), & may be written as a slash chord (F/G, or even Dm7/G) so as to show its function in II-V-I progressions.

Give it a try. The suspended triad will provide a cool tension and spice to your playing.
Ezine Article-Suspended Chords 

Tom Petty: Free Fallin' Chord Chart:

D/Dsus   Dsus/D/Asus (x2)
(simply put, this is the chord pattern for the ENTIRE song)

        D    Dsus  Dsus  D   Asus
she's a good girl, loves her mama
      D  Dsus    Dsus D  Asus
loves Je-sus and America too
        D    Dsus  Dsus  D   Asus
she's a good girl, crazy 'bout Elvis 
      D   Dsus        Dsus  D      Asus
loves hors-es and her boy - friend too

(intro again 1x)

       D    Dsus  Dsus   D    Asus
it's a long day   livin' in Reseda
          D    Dsus  Dsus  D           Asus
there's a free-way runnin' through the yard
          D   Dsus        Dsus   D    Asus
and i'm a bad boy, cause i don't even miss her
      D   Dsus    Dsus     D   Asus
i'm a bad boy for breakin' her heart

        D-Dsus Dsus-D-Asus
now i'm free                  
     D-Dsus Dsus-D-Asus
free fall-in'
       D-Dsus Dsus-D-Asus
ya i'm free                  
     D-Dsus Dsus-D-Asus
free fall-in'

Jesus Mighty God
Gsus  G
Gsus  G 
Mighty God
Gsus  G             Our Rock Our Fortress Our  
Gsus            G Your conquering arm 
Gsus         G
will be our strength
Gsus    G                
O God of power and 

Am             C  
Every foe will tremble at Your
Am             C
Every foe will tremble at Your 

Related posts:

I play lots of suspended chords in worship songs. 
It really gives the musician something to do besides just laying on a chord. 
Vamping on a major chord and then back to a suspended chord is used a lot in an introduction to a song. 
It sets things up and then you're ready to break into your song. 
It's pretty easy to incorporate the suspended chord into your piano playing.
All the best,
-- LadyD          

"The beautiful thing about learning is that no one can take it away from you." B.B.King
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