JazzGuitarLessons Podcast

Suspended Chords with ninth

Question by Omri

Hi there, i’ve read that one way to make a suspended chord is to play a major triad one step below the root, for example F/G makes Gsus. but when you do that you also get A which functions as 9. what’s the deal with that?

M-A’s Answer:

It is, exactly as you said, a natural ninth. So the homonym of F/G chord is in fact G9sus4.

If the chord was a complete one (all built of thirds), it would be
G B D F A C, the tones 1 3 5 b7 9 11

But here, we do want to create that suspension … hence we remove the third (B note), and while we are at it, we make the chord more guitar-friendly by also removing the bland fifth (D note) and we just pay G with F A C on top (F/G).

Such a construction is often referred to as upper-structure triads. For instance, we can render lots of typical chords as upper-structure triads using the appropriate 7-9-11 tones. For instance:

Dm7 —> use C/D –> sounds like D11 (there’s no third)
(usually D F A C)

Fmaj7(#11) —> use Em/F –> sounds like Fmaj9(#11)


Note that you can create upper-structure triads with tones 5-7-9 or even 9-11-13. It all depends on what sounds you are looking for. (-:

I hope this helps,

Marc-Andre Seguin

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