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Pachelbel's canon
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Pachelbel's canon

Pachelbel's canon (formally the Canon in D-major; German language: Kanon in D-Dur) is the most famous piece of music by Johann Pachelbel. It was written in or around 1680 during the Baroque period as a piece of chamber music for three violins and basso continuo, but has since been arranged for a wide variety of ensembles. It was originally followed by a gigue in the same key, though this is rarely played today.

The canon, which is in 4/4 time, uses a number of techniques: as well as an orthodox canon, the canon is given in inversion (that is, the following voice is upside-down compared to the leading voice), in retrograde (the follower is back-to-front), augmentation (with longer note values) and diminution (with shorter note values). It is an example of canon ad semibrevem (entry at the whole note).

It is commonly played at weddings.

Table of contents
1 Pachelbel's canon in popular music
2 Media
3 External links

Pachelbel's canon in popular music

The chord progression and melody of Pachelbel's canon has been used extensively in popular music, particularly blatant examples being the The Farm's 1991 single "All Together Now", the 1996 hit "Hook" by Blues Traveler, the 1997 single "C U When You Get There" by Coolio and the 1999 hit by Vitamin C, "Graduation (Friends Forever)". It is also featured prominently in the anime series Neon Genesis Evangelion.

The second half of Brian Eno's pioneering 1975 ambient music recording Discreet Music consists of a series of versions of Pachelbel's canon to which various algorithmic transformations have been applied, rendering it almost unrecognisable.

In 1991, RCA released a compilation CD called Pachelbel's Greatest Hit. It contained eight different versions of the piece, including performances by James Galway, Isao Tomita, and the Canadian Brass. Also released that year was the P.D.Q. Bach album WTWP Classical Talkity-Talk Radio, a spoof of classical radio and the canon's ubiquity there (WTWP stands for "wall-to-wall Pachelbel").

During a stand-up comedy routine on the Dr. Demento basement tapes, comedian Rob Paravonian recognizes the popular music infiltration of Pachelbel's canon.

"The cello part in Pachelbel's canon is the most boring part ever written. It's 8 quarter notes repeated... 54 times - I counted, because I had nothing else to do... I hated this piece. The violins got lovely melodies. The second violins got lovely melodies. The violas got lovely melodies, which should never happen. The celloists, we got eight notes. And if you ever wonder why, I think I've figured it out. I think Pachelbel must haved dated a celloist, and she dissed him really bad. And so he just gave the celloists the worst parts he could ever think of. And you know, I wouldn't be bitter about it, except the man is following me. He's been dead for like 300 years but he's popping up everywhere."

Paravonian then goes on to note several songs in which he's recognized Pachelbel's influence. He also characterizes Johann Pachelbel as the original one hit wonder.

Media

External links