Whats the difference in "Hybrid chord" and "Sus4" ? And if you use Hybrid or Sus4 chord do you have to resolve to there original form ?

2 Answers 2


Berklee defines a Hybrid chord as 'A compound chord consisting of upper chord tones (except the third) and tensions above the indicated root. Also known as incomplete chords or chords without thirds.' It gives F/G as an example.

To my mind this is a muddled concept. Either it's 'G9sus4(omit5)' or it's 'F/G'. If the latter, it DOES have a 3rd, in the 'F' part of the chord. Within the terms of Berklee's definition, I suppose a sus4 chord could be considered a 'hybrid'.

But this is just Berklee, with it's 'scale-over-chord' approach to improvisation methods. Most music is not improvised jazz. Note Berklee's opinion and use it if you find it useful.

Anyway. Whether you call it 'F/G', a 'hybrid' or a 'sus4', no it doesn't have to resolve to the 'non-sus' form of the chord. Such a resolution isn't even 'expected' in the way that a dominant 7th is 'expected' to resolve to the tonic, but often doesn't.


A hybrid chord is when the upper part of the chord is different from the implied root of the chord (and I'm sure it's for the sake of making the chord easier to understand at a glance). Basically it's a slash chord but with the specific restriction of having no third.

Say musical modes were stacks of 7 Lego blocks. Finding usable hybrid chords consists 1stly of setting aside the Root "block" & tossing out the Avoid Note(s) block(s) bc the colors don't match with the rest. From there, your available Hybrid chords are every combination to be made with the bricks left over. (Knowing available tensions for the chord you're looking at are a big part of the process.) The root block that you set aside (but kept nearby) will form the right side of your slash symbol. The left side will be made from the chord you decided to build.

Dm7/G and FM7/G are literally both G7sus4 chords, but writing them that way is for the sake of making plain the combination of "blocks" you chose to build it with.

The numeral analysis will still be a form of V7 by nature, because that's what it is. It's just another way to spell it differently. You'd examine the individual chord tones like part of a G7sus4 chord, still. That's why, even though it says F/G, it's still seen as not having a third: The F chord has a third, sure, but the thing to remember is that it isn't an F chord, it's a G chord in disguise.

To paraphrase a line from Berklee's Theory & Comp. 1 class: 'Unlike Hybrid chords, inverted chords have a chord tone under the slash. Hybrids have the Root under the slash.'

This page here does a good job of summarizing what I'm talking about, and has more info on top of that. https://www.thejazzpianosite.com/jazz-piano-lessons/jazz-chords/slash-chords/

  • How is F/G a G7sus4 chord when it has no D but an A instead? The other answer's explanation that it is a G9sus4(omit5) chord is more accurate.
    – Dekkadeci
    Dec 19, 2021 at 20:44

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