sus Chords ① sus4 / Music Theory Lesson

Author: sleepfreaks

About sus4 Chords

We will begin taking a look at sus chords
and we will start with the sus4 chord which allows you to “delay the resolution”.
It changes the flow of the chord progression and can dramaticize it as well.

How the sus4 Sounds

First, lets hear how the sus4 chord sounds.
After the individual chord notes are played, the chord will play.

  • Csus4

It has a sense of floatation.
Lets place the C major chord after this.

  • Csus4 → C

It feels we’ve been freed from the feeling of floatation.
It may remind you of a song you sang in school too.

How to Write the sus4 Chord

The sus4 chord is often written like below.


In general this depiction works best.

  • E sus 4 = Esus4
  • F sus 4 = Fsus4

How to Make a sus4 Chord

Lets take a look at the basic structure of the Csus4 chord on notation and the piano roll.



If you know the major triad well, you may have noticed just the M3rd is different.

The notes that make up the chord are as follows.


  • In intervals R/P4th/P5th
  • In scale degree 1/4/5

The Meaning Behind a sus4

The “sus4” is short for “suspended” fourth chord.

Lets take a look at what the Suspended Note is.

The suspended note is a nonchord tone, meaning a note outside of the chord structure.
Think about it as a note from the previous chord ends up extending into the next bar, and resolve (usually as the 2nd) in the next chord.


suspended _daw1

The basic idea of the Csus4 chord is that the F is extended from the G7→C.
suspended _daw2

Using the sus4

Lets try using the sus4 in a cadence.
As a sample, we will be using the ii V I again.

  • IIm7→V7→I
    Key=C Major Dm7→(G7→C)


It resolves using the dominant to tonic motion from G7→C.

Now lets add a sus4 and change it to Dm7→(G7→Csus4→C).

  • IIm7→V7→Isus4→I
    Key=C Major Dm7→(G7→Csus4→C)


By putting a Csus4 between the G7→C, it delays the resolution of the progression.
It feels like we finally reach the C at the end.

The F from the G7 is also shared with the Csus4.
It sounds like the m7 note is extended as well.
Lets take a look at the tritone movement in this situation.


We will look at this chord over the course of 2 articles.

By having a bit of time before reaching the resolution at the end, it creates a more dramatic ending.
It is used in various songs, so try checking for it when you analyze songs.

Next time, we will take a look at differnt types of sus chords.

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.