A suspended chord (or a chord suspension) is usually made by holding one of the tones of a chord a tone higher, then resolving it to its resting place.
This can be done with any tones of a chord, but one of the more common suspensions is to manipulate a third of the chord, by first playing the fourth, and resolving it to the third. So a C suspended chord has the tones of the root, the fourth and the fifth.
How to Play Suspended Chords.
A-C suspended chord of this type is often shown in chord charts as either a Csus or a C sus4. Sus4 means that the third is initially played as a fourth, and resolved to a third.
In real music, let us suppose you are playing a simple tune that uses three chords, C, F, and G, then returning to C. Try adding a little flavor to the mix: turn that final chord into two chords.
Experiment with other suspended chords. Put them in places where you need a bit of emotion in your music. It might be just what you are looking for.
Take a Christmas carol book (one that has chord symbols in it is good for this purpose), and try adding suspensions to dominant or tonic triads.
In the Key of C:
Sus 4 chords- Formed by raising the 3rd of the chord you are playing by a half step.
C-E-G is your basic major triad C chord. The E in bold is your 3rd. C-F-G: The F in bold is your suspended 4th. Notice that the distance between E to F is a half step. This chord now becomes your suspended 4th chord. If you play an I IV V progression, the IV is the best chord to play as a suspended 4th.
Sus 2 chords- Formed by lowering the 3rd of the chord you are playing by a whole step.
C-E-G This is your basic major triad C. The E in bold is your 3rd. C-D-G The D in bold is your suspended 2nd. Notice that the distance between E to D is a whole step.
This chord now becomes your suspended 2nd chord. To a lot of pianists, a “suspended chord” sounds like something you would only do in jazz, but for others, it’s a regular part of their melodic improvisation. Enjoy the formation of the chord and where to use suspended chords in your practice times.
Source by Diana Rogers