It’s all relative
Listen to All I’ve Got To Do and you’ll hear two chords dominating: E and C#m. These are relative major/minor chords. The verse shifts between each chord as the tonal centre, never really settling on either.
Stray from the key
Based around E and A chords, the verse in Please Please Me is in E major. However, the break in the middle of the verse ‘borrows’ a G chord from the key of E minor, so the run is: E-G-A-B. It’s a momentary change of harmony and mood.
Another classic Beatles move is the ‘parallel’ major to minor change. Try A-Am-E. It’s a basic change from A to E, except that the all-important Am leads you chromatically into the E chord.
Work out your relative minors
Learning the relationship between major chords and their relative minors unlocks all kinds of musical possibilities. If all of this talk of relativity is fogging your brain, you can use this simple method – start with the major chord of the key that you’re in, and move down three semitones. Or use our diagram to help you.