Joni Mitchell in an interview in Maclean’s:
“Q: Laws you felt needed to be broken. For example, your use of suspended chords in songs—which you say men cannot wrap their heads around. Why?
A: Men need resolution and suspended chords keep things open-ended. You go to a man if you have a problem and he tries to solve it. You go to a girlfriend and she’ll pat you on the back and say, “Oh yeah, I get it.” She doesn’t try and come up with some stupid solution.”
(So true! And a tendency I still struggle with, as a typically socialized man. Yet:)
I love suspended chords; maybe it’s because, despite (and in lifelong dissension from) my earlier Western training, I don’t think of them as suspended, as needing to be resolved into triadic chords. I hear them as legitimate entities in their own right, not as transitional things only justified in their secondary role: supporting a version of tension and release in which release is defined as triadic.
In Indian music, tension-release dynamics do exist, but not in terms of vertical harmonies (there are none; instead only horizontal, melodic note relationships in which hierarchies and statistical proportion play a major role), and in a much more context-specific outlining (via the rules of each particular raga) of precisely in what coming to a resolution consists. I think this has helped strengthen the resistance I always had to accepting the Western triad-centric view. (Quite a few ragas omit the third, or the fifth, or both, yet are still firmly centered on the tonic, the “Sa”.)