It may not be to everyone’s taste, yet Pachelbel’s Canon in D is one of the most famous pieces of classical music of all time. Take a minute to get the scoop!
Take a listen to: Canon and Gigue for Three Violins and Continuo in D Major: Canon · Jean-François Paillard c/o YouTube
Pachelbel wrote more than 500 pieces over his lifetime. He was a prolific organist in his hometown of Nuremberg, and even taught the man who became Bach’s teacher. Despite the sheer volume of his output, there’s still no system to number all of his works.
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It may not be to everyone’s taste, yet Pachelbel’s Canon in D is one of the most famous pieces of classical music of all time. It’s as simple as three violins, one cello, and eight bars of music repeated 28 times. Voila!
The canon was originally scored for three violins and basso continuo and paired with a gigue. Pachelbel’s approach to writing the music was almost mathematical. Both movements are in the key of D major.
We don’t actually know when it was composed, although it’s thought to be around 1680. Rumours have it that it was written for the wedding of Bach’s brother, Johann Christoph, but then again, maybe not.
The likes of Handel, Haydn, and Mozart all used the iconic bass line in some of their compositions in the following years.
But its popularity actually snowballed in the 1970s, after French conductor Jean-François Paillard made a recording. Since then, the music has been used hundreds of times making its way into pop songs, films, and commercials.