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Suspend the suspense

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Hi folks

In the 1970s I was lucky to see the Carpenters at the Odeon Birmingham uk

They played one of their numbers, I think it was Goodbye to love,

Right at the end they stopped abruptly and the whole of the audience gave a mighty gasp without realising it

we were all right on the edge of our seats forced there by the build up of the song, we all slumped back

And gave them a thunderous applause, the satisfying grins on the groups faces was wonderful.

I can only Imagine that the band played successive suspended chords to achieve this effect,

I have never experienced it since,

Does anyone know how they did it?


All the best




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A funny thing about naming conventions and music theory.  It's mostly made up as they went along.  It's more like English grammar, syntax and spelling than science or math.


The term suspended came from an age old axiom that a chord consists of a root, third and fifth.  When other notes were added or altered to form chords the Suspended meant a fourth was suspended from the previous measure to the next.  Allowing for a chord structure that was not previously acceptable due to the prior convention.  Somewhat like "i before e except after c"



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It sounds like an extreme form of delayed gratification. They probably played chords that lead into the tonic (I) chord, but never resolved the said chords. An example would be ending the song on a dominant (V) chord, without resolving down to the tonic. There are other chords you can use to achieve the effect but the Dominant is the simplist.

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