Johann Pachelbel

The date and circumstances of Johann Pachelbel's (1653-1706) composing of the Canon in D is unknown. The piece (which is paired with a rarely performed Gigue) was mostly forgotten by music history until 1968, when a recording was released and it soon became a huge hit. A favorite at weddings and other formal events, it is now one of the most beloved pieces of classical music. The cello and bass play a repeating eight note pattern throughout the entire piece with three violins playing a strict canon. A canon is a musical process like a round where a melody is played by one instrument, then imitated by another. In this case the first violin is imitated by the second after four measures, and again by the third violin four measures after that. The imitation continues through the entire piece. The Canon is scored for three violins and basso continuo. In this version the basso continuo is made up of cello, double bass played pizzicato, and harpsichord.