Song Help Request While looking at a youtube tutorial I see "Esus2" and "Em". They sound almost identical. Are they interchangeable?

Take another listen. They don't sound the same, and are not interchangeable. Sometimes one may be substituted for the other. But the note that makes a minor chord sound like minor chord is omitted when you make a sus2 or sus4 chord. In this case the G note in the Em chord is replaced by a Gb note. Sus chords don't identify as minor or major. Kind of like 5 power chords. It is interesting to discover that the Esus2 is the same as the Bsus4.
 
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Here's the way I look at it: a sus2 and a minor chord are objectively different chords, but does the difference matter? And that can only be judged by the context. I played a minor 2-5-1 in E using both an Em and a Esus2 and it pretty sounded the same. I mean, if someone was looking for it, he or she could spot the difference but both chords sounded natural. So it worked for me in that example, but would I say we can make an axiom and say sus2 and minor are interchangeable? Not at all. It works when it works.
 
^^^ That's pretty much what I was going to say. If it sounds right, they're interchangeable. It comes down to what flavor you're going for, or sometimes what's easier for you to play.

I watched a short interview with Lou Reed. He was asked about the riff in Sweet Jane. So, of course he grabbed a guitar and started hammering it out. Talking about the 3 basic chords that it uses, but that "it's more than that", and pointed out some of the variations. And roughly, "this is the official correct way to play it simply because that's they way I played it on the day it was recorded". But, he plays it different ways depending on what mood he's in. "Interchangeability?" Well, he played it several different ways, and they did sound subtly different. So, perhaps not 100% interchangeable... but, all of the variants worked!

Are you playing a piece of classical music that your audience expects to be perfect? Or are you playing something that you can add your own flavor to?
 
This thread has been illuminating. Because of pre-conceived notions I never would have ever thought of subbing a minor with a sus2 but it works fairly well sonically and there's another aspect: chord shapes. I was going from B7 to Emin. but going from B7 to Esus2 is easier because I played Esus2 as 4422 and that shape makes the transition from the B7 much easier. I am not prepared to make or endorse any blanket statements about the interchangability of these two chord qualities, but it has given me some food for thought.
 
I am not prepared to make or endorse any blanket statements about the interchangability of these two chord qualities, but it has given me some food for thought.
It's interesting, because I question how I really check how slightly simplified second-position chords I use in ukulele group play ACTUALLY sound. I reason that if no-one notices, they probably just add in the same way as using a soprano in a horde of concerts... by just adding some wider range of sound type? It can't be worse than the person whose strings I can hear need changing.
 
I typically listen to the chord vs the melody line (especially when sung). It either fits or it doesn't, by whether it enhances or clashes.
 
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Here's the way I look at it: a sus2 and a minor chord are objectively different chords, but does the difference matter? And that can only be judged by the context. I played a minor 2-5-1 in E using both an Em and a Esus2 and it pretty sounded the same. I mean, if someone was looking for it, he or she could spot the difference but both chords sounded natural. So it worked for me in that example, but would I say we can make an axiom and say sus2 and minor are interchangeable? Not at all. It works when it works.
That makes sense. I'm still a beginner and know virtually no music theory- the only thing I can do is carry a tune; I grew up around guitar players but there was never any formal music education. As I was noodling with the chords last night on my Millar concert I could just hear the difference between Em and Esus2 at the "end" of the sound- note? chord? To me they are very close!
 
Take another listen. They don't sound the same, and are not interchangeable. Sometimes one may be substituted for the other. But the note that makes a minor chord sound like minor chord is omitted when you make a sus2 or sus4 chord. In this case the G note in the Em chord is replaced by a Gb note. Sus chords don't identify as minor or major. Kind of like 5 power chords. It is interesting to discover that the Esus2 is the same as the Bsus4.
Well I can hear the difference when they are played one after the other to compare but to my ear they are close. I suppose if I were far more experienced and really created music I would readily spot the difference!
 
Suspended chords are used as transition chords 99% of the time. Usually they go from sus to their major or minor namesake. How many times have you heard a G to a Gsus2 to a G to a Gsus4 and back to a G?
 
This is a good thread, with some good chord info. When played as shown, the Esus2 wants to resolve to either an E minor or E major chord. Raising the 2 a half-step to a minor 3rd (E string, 3rd fret) gives ya an E minor chord a la 'Jolene' by Dolly or 'Paint it Black' by the Stones. Raising the 2 a whole step to a Major 3rd (E string, 4th fret) makes it an E Major. I like to hammer-on the sus2 to a major chord for a sweet pedal steel-sounding Country lick, and not just on the E chord, but on any major chord where I want to use that ubiquitous Country ending, as in 'Top of the World' by The Carpenters or 'Nashville Cats' by Lovin' Spoonful (or a million other Country songs). 😄
 
The question I have is whether you are muting, or not playing, the open g string.

If you are strumming all 4 strings, and not muting, then I think you are playing an Em and adding an F# (9).

That chord will sound closer to an Em than an Esus2 with no G.

John
 
John,
My last entry was 2 months ago so I cannot remember if i muted or not. But I will say that I frequently mute strings when they don't serve my purpose or when it makes life easier to mute.

As I said originally, the sus2 versus the minor chords sound different...but is it a difference that matters? I think of it as a zig-zag. The minor chord zags in one direction and the sus2 zigs in a different direction. That zig-zag gives the sound a different color but I find the actual color doesn't matter. It is just a variation. In my playing, the variation doesn't matter. But if you were trying to emulate an established song with established chords, perhaps it would matter.
 
I sort of think the same way. I want an "accent". I might want it higher or lower pitch, but I want an accent. There are many ways I could get it. My ear will know whether or not it was "right". Or if it was "too much".

For example, moving from first position A to A7. You can lift a finger to get a 1-finger A7, or you can add a finger on the 3rd fret of the E string to get a 3-finger A7. Either way gives you an accent that is nearly the same, but slightly different. But, if I want MORE... I'll add a 4th finger (or partial barre) to cover the 3rd fret of the A string. (giving you some weird chord that I can't remember the name of) That's a strong dissonance that's much more of an accent. Doesn't work for everything. But, works for some things. And works for some things VERY well.

What sound do YOU want to hear? That's the only thing that really matters.
 
John,
My last entry was 2 months ago so I cannot remember if i muted or not.
Sorry, I didn’t check the dates.

It is technically not a substitute, but I have found, especially with re-entrant tuning, that the ukulele lends itself well to artistic license.

If it sounds good to you keep playing it.

John
 
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