Pachelbel's Canon in D

portrait of pachebel

Pachelbel's Canon is an extraordinary piece of music. Most people couldn't name it yet almost everyone knows it because it is one of the most used pieces in weddings, commercials, films, classical music radio play lists and compilation albums.

Why Canon?

Rant

History and popular culture

Canon Rock

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Why 'Canon'?

Canon is a musical term for a type of composition which involves a repeated melody in different voices. A familiar type of canon is called a round, examples of which are 'Frère Jacques' and 'Row, Row, Row Your Boat'.
For a more complete explanation go to Canon on Wikipedia.

See also Pachelbel's Canon on Wikipedia.


On this CD are 15 great versions of the Canon by different artists with various instruments. For example: James Galway, Cleo Lane, Canadian Brass, Hampton String Quartet.

If you click on the link below and go to the Amazon page you can sample all the versions by clicking on "Listen to samples" below the illustration.

Pachelbel's Greatest Hit: Canon in D


The Pachelbel Rant

But not everyone loves the Canon. In fact it drives some people up the wall - especially cellists apparently.

Rob Paravonian is one of those who can't stand it. Watch this very funny video of his rant.


History and use in popular culture

The Canon was written about 1680 in the Baroque period. It is the only one that Pachelbel wrote, and some have even cast doubts as to whether he is the composer.

It disappeared until it was discovered and published in the 1920's. It wasn't until the 1970's however that it started to become popular.

Since then it has been used and adapted by many artists from the Beatles, the Who, Fleetwood Mac, Oasis - the list is almost endless.

Here is an interesting list of how it is has been used:
Pachelbel's Canon and popular culture.


Canon Rock

On YouTube you can find many interpretations of the Canon. One of the most viewed (over 65 million views when I last looked) is JerryC's version.
Here is a link to it: JerryCs Canon Rock.
And here is an interesting article "Web Guitar Wizard Revealed at Last" about the video and JerrC by the New York Times.

The video below - Ultimate Canon Rock - is a clever mix of 39 different performers of JerryC's arrangement including JerryC.



Recommended site

PachelbelCanon.com - An excellent site dedicated exclusively to the Canon. Very well researched with lots of resources, videos, sheet music, midi files links etc.


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