Pachelbel’s Canon in D for Guitar (Free PDF)

Canon in D by Johann Pachelbel (1653-1706). YouTube Video lesson Link. Arranged for classical or fingerstyle guitar. A simple guitar arrangement in drop D tuning around the Intermediate (Grade 5) level. This has been arranged for use in weddings and gigs or for students. I’ve tried to keep it simple and short enough to sight-read at gigs yet provide some of the classic and recognizable sections of the work. FYI, check out this article on how to play at weddings. You can also find the tab as a hardcopy in my Classical Guitar Tab book on Amazon. Join the Email Newsletter to get updates on free sheet music and more. Help support the site & free music.

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Another video but zoomed in a bit.

Johann Pachelbel (1653-1706) was a German composer, organist, and teacher. He never composed for lute or Baroque guitar but certainly would have been familiar with the high level Baroque lutenists so active in German at the time. He composed a large body of sacred and secular music, and his contributions to the development of the chorale prelude and fugue have earned him a place among the most important composers of the middle Baroque era.

Pachelbel’s Canon is the common name for an accompanied canon 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), sometimes referred to as Canon and Gigue in D or Canon in D. Neither the date nor the circumstances of its composition are known (suggested dates range from 1680 to 1706), and the oldest surviving manuscript copy of the piece dates from the 19th century.

Here’s the first page of the original organ score. The canon was originally scored for three violins and basso continuo and paired with a gigue. Both movements are in the key of D major. Although a true canon at the unison in three parts, it also has elements of a chaconne.


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