Sus chords

”Sus” stands for suspension and what happens in these chords are that the third (the second note) are being replaced with either a major secondAn interval consisting of two semitones or a perfect fourAn interval consisting of five semitones. When it is replaced with a major second the chord name is sus2, and when it is replaced with a perfect fourth the chord name is sus4. There are also extended suspended chords.

See diagrams of sus chords:

C sus D sus E sus F sus G sus A sus B sus

C7 sus D7 sus E7 sus F7 sus G7 sus A7 sus B7 sus

C9 sus D9 sus E9 sus F9 sus G9 sus A9 sus B9 sus


As mentioned above, there are several categories of suspended chords, but in most cases it is either a sus2 or a sus4.

Comparing the C major Chord with Csus2 and Csus4:

C: C – E – G
C chord

Csus2: C – D – G
Csus2 chord

Csus4: C – F – G
Csus4 chord


The formulas are 1 - 2 - 5 (sus2) and 1 - 4 - 5 (sus4).

Other sus chords

Beside the common sus2 and sus4 chords there are more categories. A seventh or a ninth chord, for example, could be suspended.

Let us compare a C7 chord with C7 sus chords:

C7: C – E – G – Bb
C7sus2: C – D – G – Bb
C7sus4: C – F – G – Bb

Let us also compare a C9 chord with a C9sus4 chord:

C9: C – E – G – Bb – D
C9sus4: C – F – G – Bb – D

Among these extended suspended chords, the ninth suspended chord is the least common. C9sus4 is more commonly referred to as C11 (to be exact, it is an inverted C11 without a major third).

A less common category is the suspended 2/4, which include both the second and the fourth.

Let us compare regular suspended chords with a Csus2/4 chord:

Csus2: C – D – G
Csus4: C – F – G
Csus2/4: C – D – F – G

Alternative chord names

Besides the standard sus4/sus2 names, the annotation C4, D4, E4 and so forth can occur and often together with C3, D3, E3 and so forth (meaning a sequence from sus to major).

Chord categories

Major chords Minor chords Seventh chords Extended chords Sus chords Dim chords Aug Chords Add Chords Altered Chords