1

Ok, the major 3rd I can understand since it is a m2 away from the P4 and there would be a clash there if they are in the same octave and even if they aren't many composers/songwriters choose sus chords here as they don't have a 3rd which makes the 4th much easier to sing. What I don't understand is why in some arrangements, the songwriter purposefully avoids having the 5th of the chord playing while the 4th is in the melody. Please see the following example:

enter image description here

you can see that whenever the 4th of the Bm chord appears, it does so over the bass note B alone.

9
  • I don't follow the question. The fifth of the chord is present in every instance of the chord, including those beats that include an E. It just happens that in the broken versions of the chord, the Es occur on the half beat, as does the doubled root of the chord. – Aaron Apr 5 at 10:30
  • 3
    The very first E and the tied E on the downbeat of the second measure both occur against the full chord. But to answer the underlying question: perhaps the arranger simply wanted the E to be clearly articulated without interference from the simultaneous articulation of an F#. – Aaron Apr 5 at 10:51
  • 1
    armani, composers write with theoretical and timbral considerations. Here, he/she really wants to emphasize the suspended E note before it briefly falls through d and down to the root B. But that's not really a theoretical issue-- that's him just wanting that particular sound. – Bennyboy1973 Apr 5 at 10:58
  • 2
    This might not be the greatest example, but I like this question's premise. – user45266 Apr 5 at 17:13
  • 1
    E and F# are a second away from each other -- a dissonance. How two notes sounds together is defined only by those two notes, not by their relationships to a third note. – Aaron Apr 6 at 12:05
1

In general, the perfect 4th above a root is considered to be 'unstable' and wants to resolve to the third. Fourths are often called suspended 4ths because they first arose in counterpoint when an upper voice was held while the bass moved to a 4th below. The 4th against the 5th forms a second, and seconds are dissonant and unstable. So the third is almost never used when there is a fourth due to:

  1. The dissonant 2nd between the 3rd and 4th.
  2. The resolution from the 4th to the 3rd is 'spoiled' if the 3rd is heard prior to the resolution.

The 5th, although forming a dissonant major 2nd with the 4th, is normally present, and again, the dissonance is resolved after the 4th resolves to the 3rd. I agree with @Aaron that the most likely reason that the 5th was avoided in your example was to avoid the clash of the 4th against the 5th, since this is a rhythmic piece, not sustained individual voices.

-2

All three of these bars are a constant b minor chord. Sometimes chords are broken over beats just to add a little rhythmic interest.

A 4th isn't part of a normal triad, btw. The notes of a b minor chord are:

  • b (the tonic)
  • d (the 3rd)
  • f# (the 5th)

You could call it a sus4 chord if you want, but personally I wouldn't. I'd say it's a b minor chord with a decoration on the d.


A quote from Bennyboy1973 in the comments:

composers write with theoretical and timbral considerations. Here, he/she really wants to emphasize the suspended E note before it briefly falls through d and down to the root B. But that's not really a theoretical issue-- that's him just wanting that particular sound.

2
  • 1
    As written, your answer doesn't really address the question. Consider adding your comment -- which is quite cogent -- to your answer. – Aaron Apr 5 at 11:11
  • Be my guest, Aaron. :D – Bennyboy1973 Apr 5 at 12:57

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.