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What notes are in Em7sus4?

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#1 lettuce

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Posted 19 June 2018 - 22:08

What notes are in Em7sus4?

 

I have an app called 'harmonizer' for android.

It claims that one of the chords which can be made from the CMajor scale is Em7sus4.

It spells Em7sus4 with an augmented 9th as follows :

 

Em7sus4 - E A D G

[ semitones up from root - 0 5 10 15 ]

[ intervals from root - root, Perfect Fourth, minor 7th, Augmented 9th ]

 

That cant be right?!

 

I would have thought Em7sus4 would be as follows :

 

Em7sus4 -  E A B D 

[ semitones up from root - 0 5 7 10 ]

[ intervals from root - root, Perfect Fourth,  Perfect Fifth,  minor 7th ]

[ Degrees of C Major scale - 3 6 7 2 ]

 

Am I right, or is the 'harmonizer' app right?

Why would there be an augmented ninth in a m7sus4 chord?


Edited by lettuce, 19 June 2018 - 22:09.


#2 joule

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Posted 19 June 2018 - 22:47

I agree that it should be E A B D.

E A D G should be Emadd11, no matter if the G is one octave up or not. Maybe the app has some erratic algorithm always interpreting/generating any min chord as having a minor third?

EDIT: However and as an example, I would notate it E7sus4 in those cases it implies an out-of-key chord function similar to E7.. typically, if it's resolving to an out-of-key E7 chord. (like III7sus4 in C major)

Edited by joule, 19 June 2018 - 22:54.


#3 lettuce

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Posted 20 June 2018 - 01:26

Thankyou. Yes, thats what I thought.

It must be a small mistake inside the 'harmonizer' app for android ( which is really excellent for the most part, very nice, recommended ).

 

Its interesting that you say it would be better to write 'E A B D' as 'E7sus4'.

I totally agree with you because the 'm' in Em7sus4 would seem to be a description of the minor third in the Em structure ( 0 3 7 - root, minor third, perfect fifth ) with a minor 7th interval ( 10 semitones up from root note ) added on top ( 0 3 7 10 - root, minor third, perfect fifth, minor seventh ). However, when a chord has 'sus4' in the name it suggests that the minor 3rd has been removed and replaced with a perfect fourth interval ( five semitones up from root note ), in which case the '7sus4' structure would be  0 5 7 10 - root, perfect fourth, perfect fifth, minor seventh. This is indeed the structure of the 'E A B D' chord.

This leads me to beleive that, generally speaking, 'm7sus4' chords do not exist.

 

I'm not sure that 'E A D G' should be Emadd11 but please correct me if I am wrong.

 

By my reckoning, 'Emadd11' would be E G B A, that is to say, an Em chord ( 0 3 7 - root, minor third, perfect fifth ) with an 11th scale degree of EMajor scale or perfect eleventh interval ( 17 semitiones up from root note ) placed on top of it, so ( 0 3 7 17 - root, minor third, perfect fifth, perfect eleventh ).

 

I would describe 'E A D G' as some kind of variant of A7sus4 ( A D E G ).

 

Thankyou for your help, the 'Em7sus4' problem was giving me a headache.


Edited by lettuce, 20 June 2018 - 01:36.


#4 joule

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Posted 20 June 2018 - 08:24

Its interesting that you say it would be better to write 'E A B D' as 'E7sus4'.


That's not what I said.

NB. People no longer read forum posts properly. Even a very short post like the one I made is obviously TLDR in many cases :P

NB2. How to describe a chord has as much to do with its function as with its note degrees. Hence why there's a difference between C6 and Am7 (both having the same notes).

Edited by joule, 20 June 2018 - 08:28.


#5 lettuce

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Posted 20 June 2018 - 22:14

EDIT: However and as an example, I would notate it E7sus4 in those cases it implies an out-of-key chord function similar to E7.. typically, if it's resolving to an out-of-key E7 chord. (like III7sus4 in C major)

 

 

That's not what I said.
NB. People no longer read forum posts properly. Even a very short post like the one I made is obviously TLDR in many cases :P
NB2. How to describe a chord has as much to do with its function as with its note degrees. Hence why there's a difference between C6 and Am7 (both having the same notes).

 

'Chord functions' are descriptions of qualities of chords which can be created from a given scale ( ie. tonic, supertonic, mediant, subdominant, dominant, submediant, leading tone ).

I dont yet understand why the 'E7sus4' ( E A B D [ 0 5 7 10 ] ) chord could ever be described as 'Em7sus4', regardless of chord function, as the minor 3rd has been replaced with a perfect fourth.

I'm also not fully convinced that the 'E A D G' [ 0 5 10 15 ] chord should be named as 'Emadd11'.
Au contraire...It is a chord which does not have an 11th interval in it.

E to G is either going to be a 3 semitone interval within the first octave ( minor 3rd, b3rd ) or a 15 semitone interval, placing the G above the first octave ( 'minor 10th', b10th ). Note that in the context of the E Major scale ( all 'E chords' being named accordingly with reference to this scale ), the note 'G' would constitute either a b3rd scale degree or a b10th scale degree. That is to say, no eleventh intervals are present and the chord should never be described with the 'add11' suffix.

I would hazard a guess that the authors of 'harmonizer' were trying to preserve the minor quality of the minor 3rd / b3rd in their supposed 'Em7sus4' chord ( 'E A D G' [ 0 5 10 15 ] ) by moving the 'G' up to the G above the octave ( minor 10th, b10th ) but they seem to have dropped the perfect 5th ( 'B' ) and named the 15 semitone interval as 'augmented ninth', when it should have been described as 'minor 10th' as well. A questionable decision to say the least, although in light of this discussion I now understand the reasoning behind it...

To illustrate your point about chords being named differently according to their functions you gave the examples of 'C6' and 'Am7' :

C6 = C E G A  [ 0 4 7 9 ] [ root, Major 3rd, Perfect 5th, Major 6th ] [ 1st C, 3rd E, 5th G, 6th A ]

Am7 = A C E G [ 0 3 7 10 ] [ root, minor 3rd, Perfect 5th, minor 7th ] [ 1st A, b3rd C, 5th E, b7th G ]

I will accept that in the context of a piece written in the key of 'C Major' ( no sharps, no flats ), it would stand to reason that if those four notes were considered to have a 'tonic' function ( relating to the first degree of the C Major scale - 'C' ) the chord should be named 'C6'. If they were considered to have a 'submediant' function ( relating to the sixth degree of the C Major scale - 'A' ) the chord should be named 'Am7'. Having said this, I beleive that perhaps 'A C E G' could also be named as some variant of 'C6' if the function was 'tonic', while 'C E G A' could be described as a variant of 'Am7' if the function was 'submediant'. The notes which make up the chords could be in any order.

In the examples you gave about chord description having as much to do with chord function in context as it does with the notes the chords are made up of, the minor third was still present in the case of 'Am7' ( A C E G [ 0 3 7 10 ] [ root, minor third, Perfect fifth, minor 7th ] ).

I put it to you that the examples you gave ( 'C6' and 'Am7' ) bear little relevance regarding the 'Em7sus4' question as they are not 'sus4' chords.

In the case of'E7sus4' the minor 3rd is not present ( E A B D [ 0 5 7 10 ] [ root, Perfect 4th, Perfect 5th, minor 7th ] [ 1st, 4th, 5th, b7th ] ).

Therefore, the 'E A B D' chord should never be described as 'Em7sus4', regardless of chord function.

 



#6 joule

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Posted 20 June 2018 - 22:42

Sorry about the E-A-D-G confusion.. It could be a number of things, or none at all. Em7add11no5 is one possibility. The add11 note is the A in that case, so I don't get what you're talking about.

You're wrong about m7sus4.. Consider the progression C, G/B, Am7sus4, Am. It would be illogical to notate it with roman numerals like: I, V, VI7sus4, vi

 

Obviously, the 7sus4 chord implies the vi (=minor) function and not the VI (=major) function in this case, hence m7sus4 and not 7sus4.



#7 lettuce

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Posted 21 June 2018 - 03:00

You're wrong about m7sus4.. Consider the progression C, G/B, Am7sus4, Am. It would be illogical to notate it with roman numerals like: I, V, VI7sus4, vi

 

Obviously, the 7sus4 chord implies the vi (=minor) function and not the VI (=major) function in this case, hence m7sus4 and not 7sus4.

 

I would argue that in this case the chord you have named as 'Am7sus4', should be named 'A7sus4' because it has no minor third in it, although it could still be considered to be a somewhat minor chord because of the 10 semitone, minor seventh interval ( A to G ). Technically the full chord name is 'A Dominant 7th, suspended 4th'... A D E G [ 0 5 7 10 ] [ root, P4, P5, m7 ] [ 1st, 4th, 5th, b7th ]

 

 

Sorry about the E-A-D-G confusion.. It could be a number of things, or none at all. Em7add11no5 is one possibility. The add11 note is the A in that case, so I don't get what you're talking about.

 

I would like to point out that in the case of the 'E A D G' chord, I did specify three times that the 'A' had not been moved up an octave whilst the 'G' had been. The chord written with octave numbers alongside would be 'E4 A4 D4 G5'. 'E' to 'A' could not have been an 11th interval ( or in other words, from 'E' to the 11th scale degree of the E Major scale ) because it had not been moved up by one octave.

The 'E' to 'A' interval in that chord is clearly a Perfect 4th interval ( P4 ) because the 'E' and the 'A' are within the same octave. I dont beleive that 'Em7add11no5' is the correct name for that chord.

The 'Em' part of the chord name implies that a minor 3rd is present within the interval structure of the chord. There is no minor 3rd.

The 'add11' part of the chord name implies that there is an 11th interval in the chord. There is no 11th interval.

'Sus4' was not included in the chord name but there is clearly a perfect fourth interval in the chord ( replacing the minor 3rd ).

Presumably the 'no5' part of your chord name refers to the position from which to play the chord as a guitar chord.

I understand your argument that chords made up of the same notes can sometimes be named differently depending on their function, as in the 'C6' and 'Am7' example, but consider this:

All chords are named, not according to their function, but with reference to the scale degrees of the Major scale of the chords root note.

Here is the 'C6' chord from your example :

C6 = C E G A  [ 0 4 7 9 ] [ root, Major 3rd, Perfect 5th, Major 6th ]
[ 1st C, 3rd E, 5th G, 6th A ] <- The chords root note is 'C'. It contains the 1st, 3rd, 5th and 6th scale degrees of the C Major scale ( 1C 2D 3E 4F 5G 6A 7B ).

Here is the 'Am7' chord from your example :

Am7 = A C E G [ 0 3 7 10 ] [ root, minor 3rd, Perfect 5th, minor 7th ]
[ 1st A, b3rd C, 5th E, b7th G ] <- The chords root note is 'A'. It contains the 1st, flattened 3rd, 5th and flattened 7th scale degrees of the A Major scale ( 1A 2B 3C# 4D 5E 6F# 7G# ).

If the scale you are working in is a Major scale, it should generally hold true that:

I chords are Major
ii chords are minor
iii chords are minor
IV chords are Major
V chords are Major
vi chords are minor
vii chords are diminished

However, if the scale you were working in was 'C diminished', there are 8 scale degrees.
If I took the 1st scale degree and made a chord that was not a Major chord, the intervals in the chord would still be described with reference to the scale degrees of the C Major scale. The chord name itself describes the interval structure compared to the scale degrees of the C Major scale.

C diminished ( whole-half ):  

1C 2D 3D# 4F 5F# 6G# 7A 8B ( renoise scale spelling )

1C 2D 3Eb 4F 5Gb 6Ab 7A 8B ( traditional / classical spelling )

Cdim: C D# F# [ 0 3 6 ] [ m3 dim5 ] [ 1 b3 4 ] [ R : 1 3 5 ] [ L : 5 3 1 ]
[ 1st C, b3rd Eb, b5th Gb : 1C 2D 3E 4F 5G 6A 7B ]

 

Its function seems to be 'tonic' ( I ) but it is not a Major chord.

Maybe the diminished scale starts from vii? I don't know.

Makes me wonder about the modes.

 

Here is another example :

 

What about 'Asus2sus4'? It comes from the sixth scale degree of the C Major scale,  'A'  ( vi  - submediant ), but it has no minor intervals at all. Surely it can not be named as 'Amsus2sus4'  just because it comes from the sixth scale degree of the C Major scale,  'A'  ( vi  - submediant )?

 

Asus2sus4:   A B D E     [ 0 2 5 7 ] [ root M2 P4 P5 ] [ 6 7 2 3 ]
                     [ 1st A, 2nd B, 4th D, 5th E : 1A 2B 3C# 4D 5E 6F# 7G# ]


Edited by lettuce, 21 June 2018 - 03:37.


#8 radian

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Posted 21 June 2018 - 10:58

I would argue that in this case the chord you have named as 'Am7sus4', should be named 'A7sus4' because it has no minor third in it,

 

If you did so, then when I took a solo over it I'd play the major 3rd - changing the intended feel and/or making the audience go "wtf?".



#9 EatMe

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Posted 21 June 2018 - 14:37

- notes in chords can be played in any order.

 

- any notes added to the chord are represented by their number in a scale, optionally diminished with a flat sign ( b ) or augmented with a sharp (#). their octaves are not explicitly bound to the chord structure and are also depending on the instrument.

 

therefore, I would say that the harmonizer app is not rightly representing the Em7sus4 chord, which contains the exact notes you described:

Em7sus4 = E A B D

 

the notes harmonizer gave look like a variation of a Am7sus4 with the notes represented in a non-logic order

Am7sus4 = A D E G (harmonizer: ? E A D G)


Edited by EatMe, 21 June 2018 - 14:38.

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#10 lettuce

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Posted 21 June 2018 - 17:07

Agreed.

 

Although I do now understand the reasoning behind the decisions made about the spelling of Em7sus4 on the part of the authors of harmonizer because it looks like they moved the minor third ( G ) up an octave, getting it out of the way of the perfect fourth ( A ), while preserving the minor quality of the chord. The part I dont understand is why they dropped the perfect fifth.

 

A scale degree of a Major scale ( ie. an interval name ) must be flattened twice ( by two semitones ) to become diminished or once ( by one semitone ) to become minor...sharpened by one semitone to become augmented.

 

EDIT : However, the perfect intervals ( perfect unison P1, perfect 4th P4, perfect 5th P5, perfect octave P8, perfect 11th P11, perfect 12th P12, perfect 15th P15 ) can only be flattened or sharpened by one semitone to become diminished or augmented...a perfect interval flattened by one semitone = diminished ( not minor )...A perfect interval sharpened by one semitone = augmented.

 

I would like to reiterate that chords are not named after functions but after the scale degrees of the root notes Major scale. The root note of the chord may not be the lowest note in the chord if the chord is an inversion.

 

I found out a bit about minor scale functions today ( from 'computer music'  magazine ).

 

They are different to Major scale functions :

 

Harmonic Function in minor Keys :

 

i - minor

ii - diminished

III - Major

iv - minor

V - Major

VI - Major

VII - Major

 

i, III and VI have tonic function.

iv, ii and sometimes VI have subdominant function.

V and VII have dominant function.

 

Qualities of Functions in General :

 

( quoted from Dave Clews of computer music magazine, issue 258, page 74 )

 

The tonic function represents a feeling of 'home' or 'rest'.

The tonic is the natural end point that all chords are leading back towards.

The I chords function is shared although to a lesser extent by the iii chords and the vi chords.

 

The dominant function is about tension and forward motion.

Dominant chords have a natural tendency to want to resolve or pull back to the tonic, creating a sense of relief from the tension.

Chords that have a dominant function include the V and vii chords.

 

The subdominant function bridges the gap between the tonic and the dominant chords.

The IV, ii and sometimes the vi chords can all have subdominant function.

 

Can anyone help me explain the diminished (  whole-half ) scales functions?


Edited by lettuce, 21 June 2018 - 17:39.


#11 gentleclockdivider

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Posted 12 November 2018 - 15:29

 

I always thought a sus chord had no third?
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It doesn't ,  but the third can be voiced as a tenth 


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#12 lettuce

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Posted 13 November 2018 - 04:39



It doesn't ,  but the third can be voiced as a tenth 

 

That makes perfect sense to me. A minor tenth to be precise, a minor 3rd plus an octave ( 12+3 ).

A normal tenth is a Major third plus an octave (12+4 ).

 

Em7sus4 - E A D G

[ semitones up from root - 0 5 10 15 ]

[ intervals from root - root, Perfect Fourth, minor 7th, minor tenth ]

 

In terms of stacking intervals that m7sus4 chord is P4+P4+P4 ( all perfect fourths ).

 

Guitar chord voicings can be interesting when compared to standard piano/keyboard voicings.

Some of them can even go as wide as 28 semitones above lowest note ( which may or may not be the root note of the chord ).

 

For example, Am(Maj7) on guitar can be played as:

 

E2 A2 E3 A3 C4 G#4

0   5   12  17  20  28

 

Root, Perfect Fourth, Perfect Octave, Perfect Eleventh, minor thirteenth, Major seventeenth.

 

Might be good to play it that way on keys as well or make some fast arp phrases that way


Edited by lettuce, 13 November 2018 - 04:41.


#13 lettuce

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Posted 15 November 2018 - 18:49

I just want to add one thing to correct myself quickly.

I only found out today that guitarists simplify all the harmonic intervals and look at them as if they all were within one octave.

They dont really pay too much attention to octave number or order of notes.

The lowest note may not be the root note etc...

 

so just to correct myself, the example I gave above was like this :

 

Am(Maj7) on guitar can be played as:

 

E2 A2 E3 A3 C4 G#4

0   5   12  17  20  28

 

Root, Perfect Fourth, Perfect Octave, Perfect Eleventh, minor thirteenth, Major seventeenth. -- This part must be bullshit because although the E is the lowest note it is not the root, A is the root.

 

So heres the correct way of looking at building that chord on guitar ( I hope ).

 

Am(Maj7) on guitar can be played as:

 

E2   A2   E3   A3   C4   G#4

0     5     12    17    20    28 ( this part is like a tracker arpeggiator command - semitones up from lowest note )

P5  R     P5    R     m3   M7  ( perfect fifth, root, perfect fifth, root, minor third, major seventh ) 

 

sorry, you can see how its a scrambled version of the original piano chord spread out over the octaves....

 

original Am(Maj7 ) chord for piano :

 

A   C    E    G

0   3     7    11

R  m3  P5  M7

 

So in a way guitarists have a different way of looking at chord building...they dont really care about octave number and dont often describe harmonic intervals in the second and third octaves up as 9th,  13th etc...I guess most of the time they look at a Major 9th ( M9 ) simply as a Major 2nd ( M2 ), or a Major 13th ( M13 ) simply as a Major6th ( M6 )...

 

What Im trying to say is that they look at all intervals as if they were from only one octave, they repeat intervals where they can, they omit intervals in the chord structure sometimes, everything is usually a scrambled inversion, nothing like the original piano chord structure


Edited by lettuce, 15 November 2018 - 18:54.






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