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I cannot figure out what would be the name for the chord containing these notes: D,E,G in the key of C Major.

Also, does a sus2/4 exist. For example, Csus2/4 being C,D,F,G?

To make things clearer ... On the piano I would be playing D,E,G all in order for one beat and then the D would in a way "resolve" to C. That is why I would think it sort of acts as a suspension.

The idea of it being an Em7 with omitted fifth crossed my mind. Perhaps that would be the best way to describe the chord.

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  • Chords like C - D - F - G are common in some contexts, like musical theatre. How they are interpreted and heard depends on the chords before and after them. So just the chord in isolation is not enough information. Mar 24, 2023 at 12:52
  • Thank you for the comment. The preceding chord is C major. The one after C in first inversion.
    – Jane Smith
    Mar 24, 2023 at 19:38

2 Answers 2

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Without the surrounding context, it's impossible to accurately name a chord like D-E-G. That's because, unlike standard triads and seventh chords, it's not evident what the root of the chord is.

And even knowing the root, it's impossible to determine whether the other notes represent simple or compound intervals. For example, supposing D is the root of the chord, there's not enough information to know for certain whether the E is a 2 or a 9.

All of that said, given the information that the piece is in the key of C major, the most likely identity of D-E-G is Emin7/D with the fifth of the chord omitted, which is common in voicing seventh chords.

It could be Dsus2sus4 — such a chord name is meaningful — but that can only be known by considering what surrounds the chord.

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E and G make up ^1 and ^3 of E minor. Often ^5 is omitted from a chord. With a D in the mix, it becomes Em7, quite at home in key C.

You haven't stated which order or octave those three notes are in, but a mix of all three would generally be regarded as Em7, in any voicing. So, not a suspension, but iiim7 instead.

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