I'm new to music theory and just finished some basic stuff like scales, arpeggios, etc. I'm learning a song(Ab Maj) but can't figure out what chord name is that has Bb - Eb - Ab in the right hand and Eb in the bass(on piano). I'm guessing it's Ab maj 9th chord or Ab sus2 chord but not sure. Thank you in advance!

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  • I'm surprised this isn't a dupe - or is it?
    – Tim
    Commented Dec 5, 2022 at 8:16
  • @Tim, Do you mean something is wrong with my question or something else? let me know, I will update then. Always thank you!
    – Alex
    Commented Dec 5, 2022 at 8:40
  • 1
    I'm pretty sure this kind has been asked previously. Nothing wrong with the question per se. However vtc as asking about a particular chord is offside anyway. Sorry!
    – Tim
    Commented Dec 5, 2022 at 10:55
  • 1
    Welcome! You can check out the topics that are covered here. Commented Dec 5, 2022 at 15:03

1 Answer 1


This could be Ebsus4. This works as follows: Eb chord consists of notes: Eb-G-Bb, and sus4 means to replace the third, G, with the fourth, Ab.

As you wrote, it could be also second inversion of Absus2.

But it depends on the context. Especially since sus or quartal chords have a bit ambiguous sound, so depending on what was before and what follows the interpretation might be different.

Edit after the score was added: This is Ebsus4. Note how the suspended note Ab resolves down to G, so that the chord becomes Eb, which is the dominant in the key of Ab. This is a common structure in classical music.

  • Thank you so much!! I just added a screenshot of the sheet. it's "When you tell me that you love me" song.
    – Alex
    Commented Dec 5, 2022 at 7:41
  • @Alex please see the edit Commented Dec 5, 2022 at 7:46
  • That makes sense. Thank you very much for your detailed explaining!!!
    – Alex
    Commented Dec 5, 2022 at 7:54
  • Proper name - Eb ret 2. 4ths are suspended, 2nds retarded.
    – Tim
    Commented Dec 5, 2022 at 8:18
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    @Aaron in classical theory -- or at least in 18th century figured bass -- a 2 that resolves downward is typically called a 9 instead. The figure 2 denotes an inverted 7th that resolves by motion in the bass. But I've never seen a lead sheet with "ret2" nor do I expect that many musicians would know what it means or why.
    – phoog
    Commented Dec 5, 2022 at 12:15

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