Home > Octet > Pachelbel’s Canon for Eight Violins

Pachelbel’s Canon for Eight Violins

Composer
Johann Pachelbel (1653-1706) Arranged by Keith Terrett
Arranger
Difficulty
Moderate (Grades 4-6)
Duration
6 minutes
Genre
Classical music
Instrumentation
Octet
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An arrangement of Pachelbel’s Canon for 8 Violins!

Pachelbel’s Canon is the name commonly given to a canon by the German Baroque composer Johann Pachelbel in his Canon and Gigue for 3 violins and basso continuo (German: Kanon und Gigue für 3 Violinen mit Generalbaß) (PWC 37, T. 337, PC 358), sometimes referred to as Canon and Gigue in D or simply Canon in D. It is his most famous composition. It was originally scored for three violins and basso continuo and paired with a gigue. Both movements are in the key of D major.

Like most other works by Pachelbel and other pre-1700 composers, the Canon remained forgotten for centuries and was rediscovered only in the 20th century. Several decades after it was first published in 1919 the piece became extremely popular. The piece’s chordal progression has been appropriated in numerous commercial pop hits, particularly during the 1990s, such as in Pet Shop Boys cover of "Go West", Coolio’s "C U When U Get There" and Green Day’s "Basket Case". It is frequently played at weddings and included on classical music compilations, along with other famous Baroque pieces such as Air on the G String.

Although a true canon at the unison in three parts, it also has elements of a chaconne. It has frequently been arranged and transcribed for many media.

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