Johann Pachelbel

Biography

Pachelbel

Johann Pachelbel (1653–1706) was a German composer and organist known almost exclusively for his Canon in D.

Life and Music

  • Pachelbel is a prime example of a 'one-hit wonder'; his Canon In D dwarfs all of the rest of his output.
  • Canon in D is a firm favourite in all sorts of environments, not least as an accompaniment to the walk down the aisle at weddings.
  • Many composers wrote canons – but nobody else achieved quite the same fame for it. It’s a simple idea in which a melody is played and then imitated by one or more other instruments. The children’s nursery rhymes Frère Jacques and Three Blind Mice are often sung in a canon, sometimes called a round.
  • Although the Canon in D is pretty much all he is remembered for now, Pachelbel was massive in the world of keyboard and chamber music in the late 17th century.

Did you know?

Pachelbel’s Canon has been used in numerous films and its chord progression has been copied by countless pop and rock music songs, including The Farm’s All Together Now and the Pet Shop Boys’ Go West.

Album reviews

Top Pachelbel Pieces