Canon in D was composed by Johann Pachelbel (1653-1706), a German organist, teacher and composer. Pachelbel composed music for organ, voice, harpsichord, and chamber ensembles, and the majority of his music was composed for church services. His organ chorales and sacred vocal music are considered significant contributions to Protestant church music. It is interesting to note that while working in the Erfurt as an organist, teacher and composer, Pachelbel became friends with Ambrosius Bach, the father of Johann Sebastian Bach. Ambrosius asked Pachelbel to teach music to his son, Johann Christoph Bach (Johann Christoph later taught music to his younger brother, Johann Sebastian Bach.).
Pachelbel composed his chamber music, Canon in D, for three violins and bass continuo, and it is likely that he composed this piece in the 1690s while he was the organist of St Sebald, Nuremberg. The bass line consists of a two measure ostinato (a short melodic phrase that is repeated) and serves as the foundation for the 28 variations which follow. The term canon is often used to describe a form of composition in which two or more voices follow in imitation of each other, often in an overlapping format.
 Nolte, Ewald V. "Johann Pachelbel," The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians. Ed. Stanley Sadie. London : Macmillian, 1980. 14:46-54.
*Sheet music is scored in three-part harmony, and parts are available with interchangeable viola, cello and bass music. Sheet music files are in PDF format, and require Acrobat® Reader. If you don’t have Acrobat® Reader installed, it’s a free download. Click on the following link: Get Acrobat Reader
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