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Is this chord still a minor triad if you use a 4th in the bass or does the chord change? Can anyone think of any examples in pop or rock music where this is used?

thank you

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  • 1
    Can you clarify what you mean by "4th" in the bass? Do you mean it's in second inversion?
    – Richard
    Dec 21, 2017 at 17:40
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    So a minor chord with a 4th of the minor scale in the bass. For example, Aminor with a D in the bass.
    – armani
    Dec 21, 2017 at 17:43

2 Answers 2

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I see three distinct possibilities based on how you are actually thinking about the chord itself:

  • If you really just consider it an A minor chord, it might just end up being a slash chord with a non harmonic tone in the bass. So it would be Am/D.

  • I would most likely name it D7sus2 which is spelled D E A C. This makes most sense to me since there's no third, but a there is a 2nd/9th present which make sense for the sus.

  • Another possibility is if you want to look at all the notes together as one unit then I'd view this as an inverted C6/9 chord which is spelled C E (G) A D. The G is not there, but omitting the 5th is quite common in actually playing chords which will show more of the quartal/quintal nature of the notes themselves, but is a streach naming wise.

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I agree 100% with what Dom said, I just wanted to add that identifying a chords name often requires looking at its siblings and/or the key the piece is written in. Taking your example with A- and D in the bass I would interpret it as either

  • D7sus2: D E (F#) A C
  • D-7sus2: D E (F) A C

because of the D in the bass. Not applicable to rootless voicings of course.

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  • Thirds are omitted in sus chords, so those two chords look like D9 and D-9.
    – user39614
    Feb 7, 2018 at 23:59
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    Correct, they are omitted, but if your piece is written in e.g. D-Minor, as a purist you would call the chord D-7sus2 to outline the omitted diatonic third. Feb 8, 2018 at 0:22
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    That really makes no sense. If a third is part of the chord, it is not a sus chord. D-7(sus2) is not a purist notation, it is a confusing and not very common notation. The only times I have seen this used it was either attempting to communicate that the sus chord was based on a minor chord (usually unnecessary), or it was used incorrectly to name an extended 7th chord. In any case, I don't see why this is in an answer to this question.
    – user39614
    Feb 8, 2018 at 0:40
  • @DavidBowling, I don't think it's illogical. A sus chord omits a major or a minor third. D7sus would imply resolution to a major third, but D–7sus would imply resolution to a minor third. Communicating which is intended gives helpful information to, e.g., a soloist who is likely to play the third when improvising over the sus chord.
    – jdjazz
    Feb 8, 2018 at 3:41
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    @jdjazz -- but sus chords don't contain 3rds, so this adds information that is irrelevant to the actual chord name; you can easily see what the chord movement is by looking at the next chord.
    – user39614
    Feb 8, 2018 at 3:47

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