What Is This Easy Way To Play Canon In D
Its important to note that Canon in D was originally written as a string ensemble piece,not a piano piece. This is what gives so much flexibility to musical artists to play it in a variety of ways. In todays tutorial, in just 5 easy steps youre going to also be able to play Canon in D your very own way! Whether youre just a beginner or at a more advanced level, you can make it as simple or as hard as youd like.
In this lesson, youll learn:
- Several popular melody options to use from Canon in D
- Canon in Ds basic chords and chord progression
- Several left-hand options to easily create a foundation for any melody
- Ways to expand the right and left hand to keep the energy going and add variation
- How to tell a story using all these techniques and create your own complete arrangement of Canon in D
Excited!? Lets dive right in.
Canon In D On Piano: Finding Your Way Around The Keyboard
Before playing the Canon in D, we will first review the basics of piano playing by discussing the names of the notes on a piano keyboard. If you already know this part, we recommend that you go directly to the next part .
Start by looking at the diagram below:
The name of the notes on a piano keyboard.
The picture above shows the correspondence, for each key on a piano keyboard, with the name of a note .
To find your way around the keyboard more easily, you can use the black keys. Indeed, if you look at the picture, you will see that the black keys work in groups of two and three that follow one another. This alternation makes it easier for you to find your way around the keyboard.
For example, if you are looking for the note A, you first have to look at the groups of three black keys . Once you have identified a group of three, press the white key between the second and third black keys in that group: this is your A note.
Practice quickly identifying notes on the piano keyboard. This way, you will be able to follow this tutorial article to learn Pachelbels Canon in D on the piano much easier.
Tips For Playing Level 1 Canon In D
Because we received a request from a lot of people asking us to write an arrangement for “Canon in D” for beginners, we finally came up with a nice arrangement that still sounds good at beginner’s level.
This arrangement of Level 1 “Canon in D” is for piano solo. This arrangement is written in the key of C major to accommodate Level 1 players. The key of C major is only one whole step lower than the original key, D major that Pachelbel wrote in.
Even though this is an arrangement for beginners , there are 3 pages of music and a lot of notes all the way through. The fingering numbers are on all the notes on the music score. The good news is that you can stay in one hand position for the entire song and that there is no black key in this arrangement. Please refer to the hand-position tutorial page after you download it. We provided specific damper pedal markings. However, the pedal technique is difficult for beginners. Therefore using it is optional. But if you would like to use the pedal, we recommend you to learn the piece without the pedal first. When you get comfortable with the piece, you can add the pedaling.
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Analysis Of The Piece
Johann Pachelbels Canon is basically built upon 2 musical techniques ostinato and canon. However, Pachelbels use of these techniques is also heavily influenced by a 3rd technique Ground Bass.
The bass part in the Canon in D major plays a 2 bar repeated pattern that continues for the whole piece this repeated pattern is called an ostinato. This bass ostinato provides the foundation for the entire piece of music and is a key element of Ground Bass. In my piano arrangement of Pachelbels Canon, this is played by the left hand.
These bass notes imply a series of chords in D major:
This chord progression has had a huge influence on contemporary music and has been used as the basis for lots of popular music songs in recent years.
The 3 violin parts in Pachelbels Canon play the same melody lines as a round with each line entering separately:
It is impossible to transcribe this aspect of the Canon in D major onto a piano arrangement without making the piece extremely difficult and so I have simply taken one line of melody for most of the right hand part. You could achieve the canon of the 3 violins to varying degrees of success in an organ arrangement as the pedals would play the bass part leaving 2 hands free to play the other parts.
The Influence of Ground Bass
Here is a brief outline of how the original variations develop through the piece.
Performances of Pachelbels Canon in D
Take Your Canon To The Next Level
This tutorial introduces you to a beginner-friendly version of the iconic piece. But if you want to take your Canon arrangement to the next level, there are many more complex arrangements to explore.
Here is a playlist of several known arrangements played by pianist Paul Barton. Some are denser, some are easier, and some have a different feel from the original Baroque style. Most of these arrangements are in the public domain so you should be able to find free, downloadable Canon in D piano sheet music.
If you want to learn a version that most closely resembles Pachelbels original arrangement for strings, check out Isaac Davids incredibly meticulous transcription and accompanying explanation.
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The Notes Of The Left Hand
Did you manage to find the note D? Great!
Now we can continue with the rest of the sequence. Play the following notes one after the other with your left hand:
D A B F# G D G A D F# A D A C# E A B D F# B F# A C# F# G B D G D A D F# G D G A C# E D F# A D A C# E A B D F# B F# A C# F# G B D G D A D F# G D G A C# E D F# A D A C# E A B D F# B F# A C# F# G B D G D A D F# G D G A C# E D F# A D A C# E A B D F# B F# A C# F# G B D G D A D F# G D G A C# E D F# A D A C# E A B D F# B F# A C# F# G B D G D A D F# G D G A C# E D F# A D A C# E A B D F# B F# A C# F# G B D G D A D F# G D G A C# E D F# A D A C# E A B D F# B F# A C# F# G B D G D A D F# G D G A C# E D F# A D A C# E A B D F# B F# A C# F# G B D G D A D F# G D G A C# E D F# A D A C# E A B D F# B F# A C# F# G B D G D A D F# G D G A C# E D A B F# G D G A D D A A B B F# F# G D D D G G A A D A B F# G D G A D.
Know Your Chords For Canon In D
Canon in Ds chord progression is as follows: D major, A major, B minor, F# minor, G major, D major, G major, and A major. They are simple but beautiful diatonic chords in the key of D major. Each one lasts 2 beats in the measure, which means the whole progression is played over 4 measures and then repeated.
I recommend you practice inverting the chords in such a way that they all smoothly connect to each other in a much more musical way. Playing around using different inversions on each chord you come up with several different ways to do this. Heres an example:
If you dont know all your chords and chord inversions, then be sure to check out our Beginner Piano Foundations Learning Tract.
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About Canon In D By Pachelbel:
Canon in D is probably the most famous and popular music work that the German composer, Johann Pachelbel from the baroque era wrote. Initially, he wrote it for a small string ensemble. Since the 1960s the arrangement of Canon in D for a chamber orchestra has been commonly heard and used. Canon in D has been very popular on several occasions such as Christmas and wedding. It is called Canon in D or Canon in D Major because he wrote it in the key of D Major. To learn more about Canon and Gigue in D by Pachelbel, please visit, our page, About Canon and Gigue in D by Pachelbel.
An Easier Way To Create Canon In Ds Texture
We could simply learn all of these melodies note for note on the piano and then try to limit ourselves to creating that feeling and texture in the same exact way as Pachelbel. However instead, you can create the same idea and feeling in a much more easy and unique way by selecting a few favorite melodies and using musical techniques and patterns to create new layers, texture, and development as you go.
That formula is especially useful on a solo instrument such as the piano, where it may be difficult to continue a true canon through each new melody. As a piano performer at weddings, sometimes this is required since I often have no idea how long it will take exactly for the wedding party to walk down the aisle. It usually requires improvising to make it work just right.
That all being said, lets take a look at these 5 easy steps to play Canon in D.
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The Notes Of The Right Hand
Did you find the Fa # note? Perfect.
Now we are going to play all the notes that make up the melody of the song. Press the following notes in succession:
F # E D C B A B C # D + F # C # + E B + D A + C # G + B F # + A G + B E + C # D F # A G F # D F # E D B D A G B A G F # D A G F # D F # E + A D + B G F # A G B D G C # D C # D E A C # F # D F # A F # A B G F # E G F # E D C # B A G F # E G F # E D E F # D C # E A G F # D C # B C # G A B G F # E G F # E D C # B A G B A B A G F # F # E E D D C # C # B B A A B B C # C # F # + D D + F # C # + E B + D D + F # D + B A D B G C # A A F # G A F # G A A B C # D E F # G F # D E F # F # G A B A G A F # G A G B A G F # E F # E D E F # G A B G B A B C # D A B C # D E F # G A D + F # C # + E B + D A + C # G + B F + A G + B A + C # F # + D A + C # F # + B F # + A D + G D + F # B + D A + C # F + A + D.
Play all of these notes in a row and you will have the melody of Pachelbels Canon in D on the piano, performed with the right hand.
Canon in D on piano: the notes of the right hand.
Johann Pachelbel : Canon In D
Pachelbels Canon is a very famous work which you will hear in various places, either in its original form or in various arrangements. It is very popular at Weddings and the melody, bass or chord sequence have been borrowed for songs, e.g. the melody in Coolios C U When U Get There and the chords in All Together Now by The Farm, while Memories by Maroon 5 uses the chords and a small fragment of melody. This video on shows those Pop Song connections in more detail. The original piece is part of Pachelbels Canon and Gigue in D for 3 violins and Basso Continuo. This piano arrangement is a shortened and simplified version of the Canon part of this work, and below you will see the sheet music and a video of this piece. And here is an alternative video showing a piano roll animation of Pachelbels Canon. On mfiles we also have the original version, an arrangement for violin and piano, andan arrangementfor four SATB recorders meaning Soprano , Alto, Tenor and Bass Recorders. All of these versions include score and parts, and audio files.
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Play Canon In D In 5 Easy Steps
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If youve ever tried to learn Pachelbels Canon in D on the piano before, youd discover a large number of different versions available through sheet music. Each one will also be quite different from the last. While you could pick a random one and spend a long time learning it note for note, what if I told you there was an easier way? What if there was a way that we can learn Canon in D without having to read and learn something note for note? In this lesson, well take a closer look at how we can play actually play our own version of Canon in D in 5 easy steps.
Canon in D was originally written by Johann Pachelbel around the late 1600s during the baroque era of music. While it followed some common music trends of the day, it easily withstands the test of time and is reminiscent of the musical trends we see in todays pop music. It is most commonly played for weddings to set a beautiful backdrop for the ones walking down the aisle.