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Thread: What is an A2 Chord?

  1. #16
    Registered User JonR's Avatar
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    Dec 2002
    Twickenham, UK
    Quote Originally Posted by iWonder
    By the way, what would an A2(no.3) chord be? Is this Asus2 played on the 7th fret?
    "A2(no 3)" is pretty clearly Asus2, wherever it's played. Adding the "no 3" is (I guess) confirmation they don't want an Aadd9, in case of the confusion expressed above (rightly) about "A2".

    In practice, Asus2 sounds very like Aadd9, so there wouldn't often be an issue. Where it would matter would be where the A2 was standing for an Am chord (in a place where you would expect a diatonic Am). If someone played an Add9 instead, it would certainly sound wrong.

    This thread is of course 3 years old now... ... but I would add some other thoughts:

    In my experience, "sus" in jazz is an abbreviation of "sus4" (and often assuming "7sus4", or even "9sus4"). I've never seen a "sus2" or "2" chord in any jazz chart. (I can't even remember seeing an "add9", although that would be less unlikely.)
    In jazz, they would regard a sus2 as an inverted sus4. Eg, the notes C-D-G would be seen as a kind of Gsus4, not Csus2.
    Jazz chord players are extremely reluctant to lose the 3rd of a chord unless they have to. In a sus4 there is a clear clash with a lower major 3rd. In a sus2, there is no such clash. A C-D-G chord (with C root) could easily have an E added in there; there's no good reason to leave it out.
    Mark Levine's "Jazz Theory Book" has - in its 400+ pages - no mention of sus2 chords at all, nor add9s. He mentions only "sus" (which could be 7sus4, 9sus4 or even 13sus4, and are usually considered as mixolydian chords) and "susb9" (7sus4b9 in full, a phrygian chord). The message is that jazz has no use for a sus2. And little, apparently, for an add9.

    Rock, of course, is a different matter! Sus2s are popular as a kind of consonant extension of power chords.

    As for the idea that a sus2 should (in theory) omit the root, because a suspension resolves downward, that's an interesting idea, but is not how I see it. A suspended 2nd (or 9th) can easily - and often does - resolve upwards. At least, that would be the logic in calling a 1-2-5 chord "sus2", omitting the 3rd in expectation of the 2 resolving up to it.
    In fact the 2nd (or 9th) in an "add9" chord can also end up resolving up or down (to 3 or 1). The 3 doesn't need to be omitted from the initial voicing.

    Of course, in modern music (as pointed out above) sus2s and sus4s alike often don't resolve anywhere. We just don't have an alternative term for a suspension that is merely a modal colour and not a functional dissonance.

    A "sus2" is hardly a dissonance anyway. A lot of the time in rock it's played as two stacked 5ths (one of Hendrix's favourite sounds), about the most consonant triad imaginable.

  2. #17
    Carrots!! All_Ľour_Bass's Avatar
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    Apr 2007
    I've seen a bare "sus" referring to having no third, biut having BOTH a 2 and a 4, and of course a fifth.

    Maj Triad
    C E G

    Min Triad
    C Eb G

    C D G

    C F G

    C D F G

    I do not claim to be the know-all-end-all on sus chords, so make of this what you will.

    As for the original question, I would presume it is another spelling for a sus2 chord (with or without a fifth). However if A5 would mean A with an E above it, could A2 mean A with a B(H) above it? (NOTE: I am no expert on figured bass)
    Last edited by All_Ľour_Bass; 05-26-2009 at 09:38 AM.
    Hidden Content Originally Posted by Chim_Chim
    Be different.

    Do it for the OATMEAL.

  3. #18
    Registered User JonR's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Twickenham, UK
    Quote Originally Posted by All_Ľour_Bass
    I've seen a bare "sus" referring to having no third, biut having BOTH a 2 and a 4, and of course a fifth.
    That might apply in jazz, because the 2 would be a 9th, and the chord would include a b7 too.
    "Asus" = A-D-E-G, plus B as optional. Em7/A, IOW.

  4. #19
    Registered User
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    Jul 2018
    Poparad's explanation is perfect. The only thing not quite accurate is this:

    As a result a sort of dichotomy evolved in the music world. Amongst guitar players in the rock/pop music realm, 'sus2' became the standard for notating a chord composed of Root, 2nd, and 5th. In the realm of music involving non-guitarists, such as jazz, the label "C2" became accepted for the same chord.

    This is not necessarily true. For many (pianists?) C2 will mean C,D,E,G and others (guitarists?) will mean C,D,G.

    In my view, theoretically, C2 should mean C,D,E,G but in practice you can omit the 3rd (E) if you wish or depending on the style.
    Last edited by afavreau; 07-10-2018 at 12:48 PM.

  5. #20
    Registered User
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    Jul 2018
    I use Chord Symbols to guide the player. not to tell them exactly how they should play.
    When I write C2, I don't mind if someone omits the 3rd.

  6. #21
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Dallas Texas
    The meanings of the symbols do change depending on the genre. In a CPP (classical) analysis, A2 would mean an A7 chord with the 7th in the bass: G-A-C#-E (whether the last three can appear in any order). One could also write (for my example) A7/G or A/G. From the discussion here, apparently this symbol means something different. Probably the classical analysis chose A2 before worrying about 9the chords (which in most CPP pieces always have the 9th an at least an octave above the bass.) Each writer has to chose the most useful for the intended audience.

    Many years ago, my bands came up with their own notation (mostly country music) which looks a bit like normal CPP analysis except that we didn't note inversions (bass player improvised over the chords) and we ignored the secondary dominants (V7/VI-V7/II-V7/V-V7-I was just III7-VI7-II7-I, which I think is easier to sight read) and ninths (which the lead players put in ad lib).

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