Thursday, May 5, 2011

Johann Pachelbel

We are going to take a little timeout from piano lessons this week and talk about one of my favorite pieces of music to listen to and play on the piano called the Canon in D major. This piece was composed by Johann Pachelbel who is pictured below.

Johann Pachelbel (1653-1706) was a German Baroque composer, organist and teacher who composed a large body of sacred and secular music. His best known work is the Canon in D, which was the only canon he ever composed. In addition to the canon, his other works include the Chaconne in F minor, the Toccata in E minor for the organ, and the Hexachordum Apollinis.

Pachelbel's music was greatly influenced by southern German composers like Johann Jakob Froberger and Johann Kaspar Kerll, by Italian composers such as Girolamo Frescobaldi and Alessandro Poglietti, by French composers, and by the composers of the Nuremberg tradition.

Pachelbel's Canon in D was originally scored for three violins and basso continuo, which plays the independent part, while paired with a gigue in the same key. This piece combines the techniques of canon and ground bass. Canon is a polyphonic device involving several voices playing the same music, which then results in the music being played in a sequence.

The Canon in D is such a beautiful piece to listen to. The piece is extremely popular and is frequently played at weddings nowadays as well as being included on classical music compilations. A sample of the Canon in D played on piano by Lee Galloway is shown in the video below.

The 2 videos below is the piano version of the Chaconne in F minor and the Toccata in E minor, which are other music composed by Pachelbel.

The Canon in D has also been used in modern day music, movies and TV series. Below is a list of music, movies, and TV series that are based on or inspired by the canon.

"Basket Case" by Green Day
"Beach Baby" by The First Class
"Cryin" by Aerosmith
"Graduation (Friends forever)" by Vitamin C (1999)
"I should be so lucky" by Kylie Minogue inspired by Canon
"I'll C U when U get there" by Coolio
"Let it be" by The Beatles
"Machine Head" by Bush
"Push" by Matchbox 20
"No woman, No cry" by Bob Marley
"On & On & On" by Catch 22 uses chords similar to those in Canon in D Major (1998)
"One Tin Soldier" by Coven
"Piano Love Songs" by pianist Bradley Joseph (2006)
"Sk8ter boy" by Avril Lavigne
"Streets of London" by Roger Whittaker
"Torn" by Natalie Imbruglia
"Tunnel of Love" by Dire straits (1980)
"With or without you" by U2
"13 going on 30" directed by Gary Winick (2004)
"Princess Diaries 2 - Royal engagement" (2004), Canon is played in a wedding scene
"Arthur's Perfect Christmas" (2000)
"Bob the butler" directed by Gary Sinyor (2005)
"Evangelion: Death and Rebirth" (1997)
"Fatal attraction" directed by Adrian Lyne (1987)
"Ichigo 100%" (animated manga)
"Kanon" (anime series) - Canon D is in episode 1 and 14
"My Sassy Girl" (2002) (Korean comedy)
"Ordinary People" directed by Robert Redford (1980)
"Runaway Bride" directed by Garry Marshall (1999)
"Step Up" - Canon played in a scene
"Super Android 13" (Dragonball Z movie)
"The Sweetest Thing" directed by Roger Kumble (2002)
"The Wedding Planner" directed by Adam Shankman (2001)
"Vietnam" - Australian tv-series with Nicole Kidman (1988). See a clip from it here. Canon is played from 2:50 in the clip.
"Wedding Crashers" directed by David Dobkin (2005)
"Wedding Wars" (TV-series) written by Stepheb Mazur, directed by Jim Fall (2006)

Below is the mp3 and the sheet music for Canon in D as played on the piano for a beginner to intermediate player. You can listen to it through the mp3 player or download it through the link to hear how it should sound like on the piano.

Download Canon in D mp3 Here or Here.

canon-in-d -

You can also purchase Johann Pachelbel's CD and/or sheet music in many different places like, Music Scores, Anyscores, and Piano Sheet Music. There are a few cheap products from also listed below.


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