Shake up your songwriting by borrowing chords from a parallel minor key

(Image credit: Future)

Continuing our look at interesting, effective ways in which songwriters have borrowed a chord from a major key’s parallel minor, such as the often-used “IV - iv - I” (four major, to four minor, to one major) move we looked at last time, I’d now like to reference additional examples of this practice from a few well known songs that beautifully illustrate some less common but equally appealing chord-borrowing options and variations.

At the end of each verse in Nowhere Man by the Beatles, which is in the key of E major, guitarist and songwriter John Lennon moves to the four minor (iv) chord, Am, before going back to the one (I), E. 

Thank you for reading 5 articles this month**

Join now for unlimited access

US pricing $3.99 per month or $39.00 per year

UK pricing £2.99 per month or £29.00 per year 

Europe pricing €3.49 per month or €34.00 per year

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Prices from £2.99/$3.99/€3.49

Jimmy Brown

Over the past 30 years, Jimmy Brown has built a reputation as one of the world's finest music educators, through his work as a transcriber and Senior Music Editor for Guitar World magazine and Lessons Editor for its sister publication, Guitar Player. In addition to these roles, Jimmy is also a busy working musician, performing regularly in the greater New York City area. Jimmy earned a Bachelor of Music degree in Jazz Studies and Performance and Music Management from William Paterson University in 1989. He is also an experienced private guitar teacher and an accomplished writer.