Here is an example of what I mean. In the below excerpt from Coldplay's "Don't Panic", the note E is accented and comes after the note F in the previous bar. I have not included this as it is on another page and it is irrelevant. If the E resolved by step downward to D it would be a textbook 7-6 suspension. In this case however, the non-chord tone E resolves down by leap to the A chord tone. Is there another type of name for this kind of non-chord tone or would this still considered a suspension?
If the E resolved by step downward to D it would be a textbook 7-6 suspension.
No it would not.
A textbook 7-6 suspension might be exemplified by a composer like Corelli... not Cold Play.
Harmonic styles treating sevenths and ninths as consonances that don't need resolution have been around for about 100 years!
Don't apply theory out of context.
Is there another type of name for this kind of non-chord tone or would this still considered a suspension?
Well, in jazz harmony extensions are the notes of the tertian stack above a seventh, the ninth, eleventh, and thirteenth. Or, if you like you can include the
add type chords. So you could speak of it as "extended" harmony. Although the
E in question is a seventh so even by this standard it's a chord tone.
There are other terms like pan-diatonicism, poly-tonality, or quartal harmony that would toss out the conventional sense of non-chord tones, but they don't fit the style here.
We should look at it in context.
[Reload the page if the notation doesn't make any sense; there's a bug in StackExchange's ABC integration]
X:1 L:1/8 M:C K:C %%score T1 V:T1 clef=treble % 1 [V:T1] "am"E3 (G G)F E2 | "C"E3 (G G)F E2 | "F"D3 (C C4) | z8 [V:T1] "am"E3 (G G)F E2 | "C"E3 (G G)F E2 | "F"E3 (A, A,4) | z8
A couple of things to notice:
It's two times almost the same thing, except for the last bar (and the second time is the spot you were asking about)
This is a pretty common schema, and indeed quite “classical”: a repitition with two different endings. Classically, it would in particular also be the harmonies that do something different (like, go to the dominant one time), but in pop it's much more common to have chord loops that keep on going, regardless of melodic considerations.
The melody keeps returning to E on all the 1 beats, except the first iteration of the last bar
So E has almost a bit of a pedal note quality. That alone is enough to justify using it basically over any chord: it doesn't come out dissonance, because it's already accepted as ambient in a sense.
By contrast, the D in the first iteration does stick out, and indeed I would call D-C a 6-5 suspension over the first F chord. (Disagree with Aaron that suspensions need to be prepared.)
The 1-beat E is generally a consonance, except in each last bar
So mostly, we don't even need to invoke pedal point. Only in that final bar is the E a maj7 and as such could be considered sticking out more dissonant than the previous stuff. In combination with the fact that the first time around does have the 6-5 suspension, this could be taken to mean that we are also this time dealing with a suspension, but I would disagree.
Instead, what the melody is doing is very resolved indeed, it just happens to be kind of detached from the harmonies. Namely, the melody is returning to both its E home-point, as well as then to the actual A tonic. I.e., it's outlining the entire tonic chord, a complete return home. No suspension quality at all.
Only, as I said, the accompaniment repeats the am-C-F, as chords repeat in pop music unless there's a very special moment that wants to be highlighted. Otherwise, the harmony changes aren't supposed to be highlighted or have an anyhow disrupting effect, as harmony changes often have in classical music.
That is IMO the biggest reason why it's not a suspension: because what it actually is is a downward arpeggio, just not of the chord that occurs in the accompaniment.
– But also, yeah, as already said, a maj7 can actually be pretty consonant anyway, so there's not much issue there in the first place.
This is not a suspension. To be a suspension, the note must begin as a chord tone in a different harmony, carry over into a new harmony (the suspension) in which it is a dissonance, and then resolve. (For this reason, the omitted portion is not only relevant, but essential.)
Thie E is not dissonant. In the context of popular music and jazz, major seventh chords — the harmony accompanying the E — are not generally considered dissonant, so nothing is resolving here: it's just a chord tone moving to another chord tone.
The D is not consonant. Even allowing the E were dissonant, the underlying harmony is F major, not D minor, so the D would still be dissonant.
Popular music and jazz cannot be consistently analyzed according to the classical theory of tonality. Different aesthetic standards apply. So while both follow many of the patterns and principles of tonality, they depart from it liberally and cannot be considered to exemplify it.
Suspensions always resolve down by step. However, what can sometimes happen is that the suspended voice will initially leap to another chord tone before then moving to the expected pitch of resolution. The "leap note" is decorative and not considered the resolution.
Music theory/harmony books never cover the most interesting and exceptional situations in voice-leading and harmonic analysis. Some Bach chorales are full of such examples. Here is an example of a Bach chorale where a suspension doesn't resolve by step. Consider this was analyzed as being in A minor (no key signature, upper staff = treble clef and lower staff = bass clef). There is no sensible analysis other than considering the E in the bass voice carried over from the first measure as a suspension. It doesn't resolve stepwise because that would create too much parallel motion and parallel fourths between bass and tenor which wouldn't sound good in that style.