Omitting Notes / Music Theory Lesson

Author: sleepfreaks

The Idea Behind Omitting

This time, in continuation of sus chords, we will be taking a look at the idea behind “omitting” notes.
This is incredibly useful knowledge when giving chord charts to session players as well.

First, what does omitting mean?

The word “Omit” refers to removing or leaving out something.
Therefore, we will “omit” something from the notes that make up a chord.

This time, we will look at the frequently used “omit3” as a focus point.
✳︎ Though the omit3 is often explained in correlation to power chords, we will look at power chords in a future article.

How to Write Omit

A note being omit is often written as follows:


Though we are using omit3 has an example above, if you see a omit5, omit root, etc. you will omit whatever note is stated after the word “omit”.
You may hear someone ask “can you omit the _” in a conversation as well.

In addition, no3 would mean no 3rd, 5 would mean only the root and the 5th, and these depictions hold similar meanings to omit3.

The Omit Sound and How It’s Made

Lets first take a listen to Comit3.
After the individual chord notes are played, the chord will play.

Unlike chords up until this point, it’s hard to tell if the chord is bright or dark.
Lets take a look at the notation and the piano roll.


In the chord, the 3rd that determines whether a chord is minor or major is not included. In addition, the distinct 7th sound is also not included.

Then why would it be necessary to have chords that are vague like these?

Using Omit Chords

First, lets say we came up with a melody in the Key=C major like the following.


Lets say we added chords while being careful of avoid notes and came up with the following.


Though it isn’t wrong by any means, because it starts from a subdominant chord, it starts with a feeling of “where is this heading?”

However, if the progression were to start with the tonic chord, the F from the melody would clash with the chord and create dissonance.


If we hear just the beginning it sounds like so.

By using a Comit3 chord in this case, we can use a tonic-like chord while still avoiding the clash of avoid notes.


In this case, we could also use a sus4 to avoid dissonance.
Because the F will be accented, use according to what feels best for the song.


This was an example of an omit chord being used, but it can be used in the following situations as well.

  • As a chord with neither a major nor minor sound
  • To simplifly reduce notes in a chord with many notes
  • To add freedom to the melody

If you come across an omit chord when analyzing, try to figure out what the song writer had in mind by using it.

Article Writer: Kazuma Itoh

講師 伊藤
After moving to the USA at 18 years of age with a scholarship from Berklee, he completed a 4 year study focused on song writing and arranging there.
Using this knowledge, he works across a variety of fields from pop music, film music, and more.