# Roman Numeral Treatment of Suspensions

My question today stems from me having difficulty assigning a roman numeral to a chord which either has a suspension (please see below)

Or when there is melodic motion in the bass (please see below)

In the first case (both examples in C major by the way), do we simply call this a vi chord and call it a day? Or, because the D in the soprano line is sounded, is this a viadd4 chord? Similarly, in the example with the C-D motion in the bass, is this just a I chord? Or is this a one chord that becomes something else--something that I wouldn't even know how to name?

• Note that without a preceding measure in view, we can only say that the D in the soprano is an appoggiatura, not a suspension.
– user48353
Mar 28, 2019 at 1:17
• What do you mean:*call it a day?* Mar 28, 2019 at 6:44
• @AlbrechtHügli he is asking whether we should simply call it a vi chord and not to worry about it anymore. Mar 28, 2019 at 7:49
• So a day is actually derived of day = Tag (German) Mar 28, 2019 at 7:59

Actually, without seeing the preceding measure, there are quite a couple of things that might be going on in your first example (as @replete noted in the comments).

• D is a non-chord tone and it could be a suspension, if the note D was played on the same voice on the previous measure and help for this one; you could call the chord a 'vi 4-3', because it's the 4th of the root that is the suspension and is resolved to the chord note, the third (in this case C).

• It could be a passing tone on an accented beat, if the previous tone on the preceding measure was an E.

• It could be an appoggiatura, which is a non-chord neighbor tone that is resolved stepwise.

On your second example, the D note is simply a passing tone, which isn't notated in some way. It's not on a strong beat of the measure, so unless something else is happening on the other voices as well, there is no need to change something in your analysis. This kind of passing tone is usually used when the voice is moving stepwise, so in your example, the next note will most likely be E.

• Perhaps worth adding that the 4-3 might be given in superscript aligned with the notes.
– user48353
Mar 28, 2019 at 1:16
• Thank you for the concise answer! And the next note does happen to be an E :) Mar 28, 2019 at 1:17
• @replete you are correct; I updated my answer Mar 28, 2019 at 1:26
• Good answer. I didn’t know you call them passing tones also on strong beat. In German it would be Vorhalt (equal to approach or suspension) Mar 28, 2019 at 6:42