As can be seen here on measure 23, with the melody playing a D that lingers while the side guitar go from E5 to D5.

The D starts when E5 is being played, but is held on even when the chords change to D5. Do we have a specific term for it ?

I'm not looking for the term pedal point, as I believe that the term pedal point is used when the note is hold on for a larger portion of the piece.


That's called a suspension, when a note is released later than expected over a chord change.

  • Very interesting wikipedia page, thank you ! It seems that the description Wikipedia gives of suspension is close but not quite the same to what I'm looking for. It seems that suspension implies that the held note is a nonchord tone of the second chord, which is not necessary the case in my definition. So suspension is a more narrow definition to what I'm looking for, but close. In my exemple for instance the held D is actually the 1 of the second chord, making it a kind of mix between anticipation and suspension. – 021 Jun 25 '20 at 17:12
  • 2
    Not everything musical has a name, or has to have a name. this is probably one of those cases.I know we love to label things, but... – Tim Jun 25 '20 at 18:50
  • Why should the chord last as long as the melody? This is how we learn multi voice classical harmony, which I think is referred to as homophonic. All voices have identical rhythm, change together. However, polyphonic harmony allows different voices to move with distinct phrasing. This could be an example of that. Also, suspension may NOT be in the melody per say, but in a lower voice in the harmony. – ggcg Jun 25 '20 at 19:01
  • This is really confusing. There is no "side guitar". I see no chords in measure 23. – ggcg Jun 25 '20 at 19:04
  • 1
    There is a suspension in the passage, but that is with the G, the OP asks about the D – Michael Curtis Jun 25 '20 at 21:53

I noted the passage below, because I think it's easier to read chord tones/non-chord tones from notation rather than tab...

enter image description here

...I put middle voice F#4 and G4 in tied quarter notes to help demark the metrical points of the melody against the chords of the accompaniment.

The D in question first enters as a non-chord tone relative to the E minor chord of the accompaniment. While the D is held, the accompaniment changes to a D major chord, at which point the D becomes a chord tone. That's called an anticipation.

It's sort of like the D comes in early, before the chord. Supposedly that is the D "anticipating" the chord. I don't know what that wording is used. "Foreshadow" would seem a better description, but "anticipation" is the standard term.

Some might say the D is part of a Em7 chord and therefore not an anticipation. That's a debatable point. The beginning certainly sounds like an Em9 chord, but when it gets to the part marked verse the chords seem more simple triads at which point non-chord tone descriptions seem appropriate to me.

  • Very helpful and easy to understand answer ! Thank you once again Michael :) – 021 Jun 26 '20 at 8:00

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.