Suspended Notes in Musical Composition – Piano Tutorial
Articles Blog

Suspended Notes in Musical Composition – Piano Tutorial

October 14, 2019

Hello and welcome to Inside Piano Video Tutorials
Federico Dantoni Here As usual I’d like to thank all of you subscribers
for watching the videos and for all your wonderful comments and questions I’ve received several emails and inquiries
to move at a slower pace and for certain concepts to be explained in
greater detail Although Youtube is a great platform
to be able to introduce you to these musical concepts
is not the right interface to be able to teach piano and music in such
depth That’s why I wanted to let you know
I’m developing a new piano course that will be available soon at in which you’ll be able to see 
all the concepts you see on these videos in greater detail 
but also including the exercises, ear training, PDF files
and everything required for you to get the right practice but most importantly
you’ll be able to follow the right order form A to Z
instead of just disconnected videos about different subjects On the last few videos
we’ve talked about jazz piano improvisation today we are gonna talk about the use of 
suspended notes in musical composition and how the law of gravity
affects the melodic and harmonic resolutions To be able to understand this concept 
we first need to know what is it that produced 
these harmonic and melodic movements Music is a language
and although it has certain similarities with the spoken language
music is a gravitational language we can say that tonal music is governed by
the laws of gravity that’s why we have the so called “Tonal
Centers” Harmonic and Melodic Movements happen around
these tonal centers The tonal centers are the strongest center
of gravity within a tonality Just like the Sun, Jupiter and Saturn
have the strongest gravity in our solar system. In the case of the musical notes
there are certain notes that are gravitationally stronger than the
others and these are basically the notes of the chords. Again this subjects of gravity and music
will be explained with more depth on our new piano tutorial course
coming up soon to our website at But basically the melodic movements
are produced when we move away from stability or from these tonal centers When the notes move away from the tonal centers
gravity starts pulling down back to these tonal centers Basically it is gravity what’s that is doing
the job for us. The only thing we have to do
is just move away from a tonal center and let gravity take over. For example if we play the Am chord
The Am chord tonal centers are A C E A is the Tonic and so it is the 
strongest gravity center all other notes are pulled back to it once we move away from the tonic
gravity starts to pull down If we are on C
C is pulled back to A If we are on E
E can be pulled back to C which eventually
will be pulled back to A But Also E
can be pulled upwards to A
And this A can go back to E
and continue down to C which eventually will end up back to A This is how melodic movements
are created they are governed by the effects of gravity
which in music are known as harmonic or melodic resolutions Now that we understand these concept
we can say that the suspensions are simply a delay of these harmonic or melodic
resolutions The most common suspensions
are over the 9th and the 4th For example on Am
the 9th of A is B so then we can suspend the scale
by stopping on B creating therefore a suspension that will eventually resolve back to A Now A
is the 4th of E so by changing the chord to E7
it becomes suspension which in this case resolves to the major 3rd. And eventually gravity
pulls it down back to the tonic. Allow me to demonstrate this concept
using a melody I composed using this idea
over the A Harmonic Minor Scale Using a typical chord progression
of the harmonic minor scale Am E7 E7 Am A7 Dm G7 C E7 Am F F7 E7 and back to Am Let’s play it first
so  you can hear the effect produced by delaying the resolutions. Please pay attention
how the melody plays around hanging over the 9th and the 4ths
to postpone these resolutions. The song begins over Am
and the melody starts over E which is the 5th from there we move down through the scale and create a suspension over the 4th of E7
that resolves to the major 3rd Suspension over the b9
scale down the minor 9 resolving to the minor 3rd Tonic on A7
scale and suspension over the 9th of Dm
resolving to the moonier 3rd Now from the tonic of G
scale down and suspension over the 4th of C major
resolving to the major 3rd Tonic of E7
with the arpeggio to the 5th gravitating down
to the minor 3rd of A Scale and suspension
over the major 3rd of F we add the minor 7 on the chord
resolving to the major 3rd of E Now the piano will continue
repeating the same motif while the soprano comes in with the melody using the same technique
suspending the melodic resolutions over the 9th and the 4th
and we are gonna also add the suspended 6th Beginning with the Am arpeggio
to C that becomes a minor 6th suspension over E7
resolving to the 5th E7 Arpeggio
up to D that becomes a suspended 9th
over Am resolving to the 3rd Now A7
A7 arpeggio up to G
that becomes the suspended 4th of Dm
resolving to the minor 3rd G7 arpeggio up to the 7th
that becomes the suspended 4th of C resolving to the major 3rd E7 beginning on the suspended b9
to D that is the suspended 4th of Am resolving to the minor 3rd Now the 3rd of F Major
to the suspended 6th of E7 resolving to the 5th which brings us to the final resolution
over the tonic of Am These are the effects of gravity
over a melody using triad chords But when we use seventh chords,
chords using extensions the effects of gravity become weaker The chord extensions
function like a kind of anti-gravity in which the notes float without
necessarily being pulled down to the tonic. This happens because our ear
is used to hear this jazz alterations. Adding extensions
would be like putting the notes in orbit in which the force of gravity still has its
influence but is not strong enough
to force these notes to come back to the center I’m going to use another composition
I made to illustrate this concept in which I purposely use chord extensions
and melodic suspended notes constantly to demonstrate this case. Pay attention how the notes stay floating
around the tonal centers without necessarily being pulled to them Let’s use the following chord progression
I – VI – IV – II on the key of F Major that will be FMaj7/9
Dm7/9 BbMaj7/9
Gm7/9 and on the melody,
let’s play the verse always falling over the major 9th The major 9th of F is G The major 9th of Dm is E The major 9th of Bb es C The major 9th of Gm is A G over F E over D C over Bb and A over G Now
pay attention on this melody how these major 9ths
stay in orbit Ok now we moved to the Phrygian mode
but again G over F E over D C over Bb
and A over G Major 9th of Fmaj7
Major 9th of Dm7 Major 9th of BbMaj7
Major 9th of Gm7 Tonic of A7
4th of Am that now would the 11st major 3rd of BbMaj7
minor 3rd of Dm7 again major 3rd of BbMaj7
resolving to the tonic of A now we continue with the bridge
using major 3rds Major 3rd of Bbmaj7
Major 3rd of C Major 3rd of Bb
Major 3rd of C Major 3rd of F Tonic of G
5th of A 5th of Dm Tonic of G
5th of A Major 7th of Bb
to the tonic of A7 Now to the chorus
Major 9th of Dm #11 of Bb7 Major 9th of G
Tonic of A Again the same thing #11 of Bb7 Tonic of G
Tonic of A Now we move to the solo Dm, Bb7 Gm7 A7 again Dm
Bb7 Gm7
A7 Now we can use
the scales we learnt on our last video diminished scale going down by 3rds,
going down by 3rds, continue descending to the Gm7
and resolving to A7 and there we have the song I hope today’s video was helpful
and remember all of these concepts
we’ll be available on our piano course coming soon
to If you like the video
give us a thumbs up don’t forget to subscribe
and also subscribe to our website to stay informed about our course as always thank you for watching
and I’ll see you on the next video

Only registered users can comment.

  1. éste tutorial lo tendrás en español? Grandes y afectuosos saludos. Felicidades por tu importante aportación, en verdad es una fortuna encontrar tu material en la red.

  2. éste tutorial lo tendrás en español? Grandes y afectuosos saludos. Felicidades por tu importante aportación, en verdad es una fortuna encontrar tu material en la red.

  3. Oh my god! That intro song! Is that a specific song, or improvised? If it is a song, how is it called? Loved it!

  4. Hey Frederico, I have always had this question:
    Why is it that there are some times in which you can play notes that may not necessarily correspond to the scale and still sound like a perfect fit? In this case I will refer to the minute 2:56–3:00. How is this optional? What kind of rule allows this?

  5. Thanks, Frederico your videos are really great and inspiring. If you could build a 'musical ramp' to teach improvising concepts from beginner to pro; how wold it look?

  6. Very good demonstrations and explanations Visually of your abstract music theory Concepts of suspensions. It was easy to follow. Bravissimo

  7. Hi 🙂 one of my favorite piano tutorial ! all is good : idéas, mélodie, we can see 2 keyboards, speed of tutorial … congratulations my friend 🙂 ( PS : i am Petrucciani fan )

  8. All can be explain on youtube, it a great learning site, why make a coure.
    by the way great teaching……
    teach all here no course necessary……

  9. hi Fédérico 🙂 can u help me please ? just tell me where you found the "virtual piano" in the top of vidéo ( i dont need sounds, i just want see a keyboard for midi files for ex ( or my futures piano vidéos for youtube )
    Best regards Amigo 🙂

  10. hi 🙂 thx for "midiculos", i had tried it : interesting software 🙂 i am on windows 10 ( 64 bits ) , i dont know if i can have keyboard in full screen ( for ex width = 1980 px instead of 800px ? ) ( maybe in pro version ? )
    ok 🙂 best regards !

  11. Sorry amigo you teach too fast you got to go slow ,so we can enjoy and understand better,processing the info,thanks

  12. Complimenti, un lavoro ben fatto, fa piacere vedere e ascoltare la tua passione e competenza. L'ho goduto ancora di più a velocità leggermente ridotta. Auguri per tutto! Marco Rosano

  13. Great videos with excellent, much needed information! Has the course been released yet? I went to your website and still didn't see it.

  14. Sorry, in the video did you mention Am harmonic scale or melodic scale? 3:50 minutes? and chord Bb7 sharp 11 or 7? 11:02 minutes?

  15. At the request of the subscribers, we started the new series "Piano for the Modern Musician" available at

  16. very very nice chords sir
    like that. …counter or suspens chords very 😀😀well and nice

  17. Maestro !! Un placer ver los videos !! Aquí seguimos aprendiendo de usted soy tu fan jeje!! Podrías ayudarme a entender algo que me pasó un amigo !! Mira te lo pongo así como me lo dijo el textualmente ,hablando de improvisación en cualquier tema, utilizando rearmonizacion escalas arpeggios etc !!! ….. el me dijo Que , en anticipacion de acorde siempre cabe un dominante mas sus sust. !! Se q es difícil de explicar por aquí pero me gustaría saber como lo entiendes tú maestro para confirmar algunas cosas !! Te envío un abrazo y ojalá se pueda saludos





Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *