Pachelbel, Johann – Canon in D

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Johann Pachelbel Canon in D Guitar Arrangement

Chances are you have been to a wedding where musicians perform it. No doubt you have heard it in a movie or TV show. You have come across this wonderful piece of music somewhere. “Canon in D Major” by Johann Pachelbel is one of the most popular pieces of music that we have become familiar with. Its beauty has charmed listeners all over the world.

Johann Pachelbel was born in Nuremberg, Germany. He was born in August of 1653 and is one of the most important composers of the Baroque music era. Not only was he a brilliant child that excelled in academics, but he was also a gifted organist. He studied music in his hometown and spent time in the great city of Vienna, Austria. Vienna would soon become home to other great composers such as Mozart, Beethoven, and Haydn.

Johann Pachelbel and his music were popular during his time. Though like most composers, he became more obscure after his death in 1706.  Canon in D was composed at some point between 1680 and 1690.  No one knows the exact date, but many guesses have been put forward. The sheet music is titled Canon and Gigue in D, but has become known as just Canon in D. Some musicologists think it might have even been written for the wedding of one of his friends!

The “Canon in D Craze” seems to have started in 1968. Most likely due to a recording by french conductor Jean-François Paillard. The piece was obscure for some time before that recording. After Paillard's recording, people all around the world began to feature the piece in movies, TV, and radio. Soon after, it became associated with weddings and other festive events.

The original format is for 3 violins, and basso continuo ( which means an improvised part). Today we have many arrangements. We can now find "Canon in D" for piano solo, oboe, guitar solo, flute, and sheet music for many other instruments. The piece itself is in a style that allows us to play the melody and bass together.

The piece is an absolute joy to play and it will pique the interest of any music lover. The beautiful melody and catchy bass line leave little surprise of its popularity. Enjoy this arrangement of Pachelbel’s Canon in D for guitar!

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Allen Mathews

Hi, I’m Allen Mathews. 


I started as a folk guitarist, then fell in love with classical guitar in my 20’s. Despite a lot of practice and schooling, I still couldn’t get my music to flow well. I struggled with excess tension. My music sounded forced. And my hands and body were often sore. I got frustrated, and couldn’t see the way forward. Then, over the next decade, I studied with two other stellar teachers – one focused on the technical movements, and one on the musical (he was a concert pianist). In time, I came to discover a new set of formulas and movements. These brought new life and vitality to my practice. Now I help guitarists find more comfort and flow in their music, so they play more beautifully.
Click here for a sample formula.