Section 10.9 Suspension¶
Suspensions are accented non–chord tones occurring on downbeats. A suspension is approached by the same note and resolves down by step. A suspension is made up of a preparation, suspension, and resolution. Sometimes the preparation is tied to the suspension.
Suspensions are classified by numbers (9–8, 7–6, 4–3, 2–3, and sometimes 6–5) that specify the interval distance of the suspended note and its resolution to the bass note
In the example above, the notes in the 4–3 suspension are an 11th and 10th higher than the bass. Reduce all intervals larger than an octave to the numbers 7–6, 4–3, and 6–5.
Here is an example with a 4–3 suspension.
Here is an example with 7–6 and 9–8 suspensions.
The 2–3 suspension is the “bass suspension” and is measured against an upper voice. Again, you may encounter the literal intervals 10–9 but should label the suspension as 2–3.
When a chord is inverted, you will sometimes encounter non-standard suspension numbers like 5–4 or 3–2.
You will sometimes encounter decorations of suspensions where other notes occur before the resolution, as in the following example.
The “ret.” in the tenor part in the second measure is a retardation, which is covered in the next section.