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A very well-known piece of Classical Music. Written by Johann Pachelbel, it is a Canon in passacaglia form, based on an Ostinato (repeating) bass Melody. The piece is usually performed with a string orchestra, but arrangements of it exist for almost every standard ensemble you can think of. It's the one hit that continues to give Pachelbel One-Hit Wonder status. Pachelbel was largely forgotten after his death until 1919, when this piece skyrocketed him to fame.

It is also known by the names "Canon in D", "Pachelbel's Canon in D", and "Kanon D-dur" (the German name, meaning "D major Canon"). The piece is, of course, in D major. Enjoy it by clicking here.

It's commonly featured in collections of "light" or "soothing" music, and is often played at weddings. It is also a popular selection for use in Public Domain Soundtracks.

The piece is the trope namer for the Pachelbel's Canon Progression. Cellists detest this piece because it involves playing the same 8 note progression 27 times without change or pause.


It has been used in the following works:

  • "Lullaby" by the string quartet Bond is an adaptation of the song.
  • The influence of the piece can be seen in many of Emilie Autumn's songs, since as a child she would mentally play the piece each night to suppress her auditory hallucinations (as quoted from The Other Wiki). A few bars of the melody are shoehorned into "Save You", and the first half of the ostinato is used in "Ancient Grounds" and "Let the Record Show".
  • It features in and is one of the themes of Kanon, which names itself after the piece.
  • In the anime Lucky Star, Tsukasa's ringtone sounds like a cheerier version of this.
  • In the Neon Genesis Evangelion film Evangelion: Death and Rebirth, a recurring motif of the three main characters playing the piece is used to punctuate the recap portion.
  • Comedian Rob Paravonian famously made a rant about the piece, noting how boring it is to play the bass line as the cellist in the ensemble, as well as the progression's ubiquity in popular music (although few of the examples given actually use the progression).
  • South Park uses The Jimmy Hart Version in the scene where Cartman has a tea party with his stuffed toys.
  • Tay Zonday's arrangement "Canon In Z."
  • Trans-Siberian Orchestra has two songs based on it: "Christmas Canon" from The Christmas Attic, and "Christmas Canon Rock" from The Lost Christmas Eve.
  • Pachelbel's Ganon, an OverClocked Remix track by djpretzel that rearranges Zelda's Lullaby and Ocarina of Time's opening theme in an R&B style, with this as its backing track.
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