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Classical music masterpiece - Canon in D by Pachelbel (best version)

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Composer:
Johann Pachelbel
Performer:
Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center
Source:
Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston
License:
CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
Views:
21861

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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). 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 was particularly prevalent in the pop charts of the 1990s, being sampled and appropriated in numerous commercial hits such as 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.

Analysis

Pachelbel's Canon combines the techniques of canon and ground bass. Canon is a polyphonic device in which several voices play the same music, entering in sequence. In Pachelbel's piece, there are three voices engaged in canon, but there is also a fourth voice, the basso continuo, which plays an independent part.
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Performed by: Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center

Music by courtesy and under copyright of: Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston
Music license: CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
Website: www.gardnermuseum.org

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