I noticed a pattern that I would love to have a name for:

The second to last note in the melody of a phrase occurs together with a chord. The melody note is held, but the chord changes. Now the melody's note and the chord can be heard together, and resolve to the final harmony.

I don't have a program to write musical notes available right now, but here are two examples:

  • 0:45 - 0:53:


  • 01:20 - 01:26

On Wikipedia, I found the term "suspension" for something similar. It says

A suspension (SUS) occurs when the harmony shifts from one chord to another, but one or more notes of the first chord (the preparation) are either temporarily held over into or are played again against the second chord (against which they are nonchord tones called the suspension) before resolving downwards to a chord tone by step (the resolution).

However, in my question, the second chord is actually in harmony with the note being played. Is there a name of that?


3 Answers 3


Both of the linked videos demonstrate suspensions.

There are overlapping concepts involved here.

  1. Melody: the "lead" part; the part the ear most gravitates to.
  2. Accompaniment: the parts that fill out the music.
  3. Harmony: the combination of all parts, both melody and accompaniment.

The key here is that, in analysis, examining the harmony requires the inclusion of the melody.

Roaming Sheep: suspension

In the case of "Roaming Sheep", the melody voice sings a certain pitch on "warm your", then sings the same pitch at the beginning of "heart", before moving downward on that same word.

At the word "your", the melody note is considered part of the overall harmony, along with the accompaniment voices. However, at the beginning of "heart", the accompaniment voices change to a new chord, while the melody voice "suspends" the pitch it was previously singing. The melody pitch is dissonant against the accompaniment, but then resolves downward to create a consonance.

Ancient Mysteries: appoggiatura

"Ancient Mysteries" features a similar operation, but in an "inner voice" (meaning, there are sounds both above and below). This isn't technically a suspension, because the dissonant pitch isn't held over from the previous chord. Instead, this is an "appoggiatura", because there is a leap into the dissonant pitch. The overall sound, however, of a dissonant pitch which then resolves to a consonant one, serves a similar function as a suspension.


a pedal point?

Brittanica defines it as: "pedal point, in music, a tone sustained through several changes of harmony that may be consonant or dissonant with it; in instrumental music it is typically in the bass.". I learned about this from a composer while learning techniques used in music for film and video composition.

image example of music notation from wikipedia. example image on wiki page: Chopin, Prelude in D♭ Major, Op. 28, No. 15, bars 24–31

example of music notation from wikipedia. example image on wiki page: Chopin, Prelude in D♭ Major, Op. 28, No. 15, bars 24–31


Maybe just two chords with a note in common. No special name for it except that plain description.

The second bar of my example is a suspension. A C chord with a 'wrong note' (the F) moving to the 'right note' (E).

The third bar COULD be considered a double suspension. C chord with TWO 'wrong notes' moving to two 'right' ones. Probably more useful to look at it as a F triad moving to a C triad.

enter image description here

  • Whoops! The third bass note should be a C in my example.
    – Laurence
    Apr 2, 2021 at 11:30

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