Pachelbel’s Canon in D

Two posts for this week!

Pachelbel’s Canon is one of the most well known classical pieces in the world. It was written around 1680 for three violins and a bass by Johann Pachelbel, a German composer. Today, it is frequently used as wedding music.

Here is a great link if you would like to learn a little bit more about the piece and listen to a youtube video of it:

For those of you who are playing this piece, I have some files for you. These are midi recordings of the music and the sheet music for the part you will play by itself, and all the parts together. A midi recording is electronic, so it may sound a little weird, but it’s still helpful to have.

Part 1 Only
Sheet Music:Canon in D part 1 PDF

All Parts
Sheet Music:Canon in D PDF

There are two main ideas that are important to know about Canon in D. The first is that this piece is a type of music called a Canon. The second is that in this Canon, Pachelbel uses something called an Ostinato.

See the below video for a good (and rather silly) explanation of a Canon, also known as a Round:

Pachelbel uses an Ostinato throughout the entire piece. It’s the bassline you hear that goes like this:

D A B F# G D G A

To understand what an Ostinato is a bit better, check out this video:

Before I go, I thought I’d explain a little bit of how I made the sheet music and recordings. There are some wonderful computer programs that allow you to write music on your computer and it will play back what you have written using special audio software. The program I use is Finale. You get to enter in the notes on the staff with your mouse or keyboard. Here’s a picture so you can see:

Screen Shot of Finale

So on the top and left, you can see all the buttons for picking out certain kinds of notes, rests, time and key signatures, etc. It can be pretty fun actually!

Finally, if you prefer this instead, I have some youtube videos of the recordings.

SO much information in one post! Haha

If you are interested in playing Pachelbel’s canon, please download the music and we can work on it in class πŸ™‚

Have a great day!