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The “PACHELBEL CANON” arranged for solo ukulele by Ukulele Mike Lynch

December 5, 2013

The “Pachelbel Canon” arranged for solo ukulele by Ukulele Mike Lynch

canon cover complete

In part we find from WIKIPEDIA that Pachelbel’s Canon is the name commonly given to a canon by the German Baroque composer Johann Pachelbel 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). It is his most famous composition. It was originally scored for three violins and basso continuo and paired with a gigue. Both movements are in the key of D major.
Like most other works by Pachelbel and other pre-1700 composers, the Canon remained forgotten for centuries and was rediscovered only in the 20th century. Several decades after it was first published in 1919 the piece became extremely popular. The piece was particularly prevalent in the pop charts of the 1990s, being sampled and appropriated in numerous commercial hits such as Coolio’s “C U When U Get There” and Green Day’s “Basket Case”. It is frequently played at weddings and included on classical music compilations, along with other famous Baroque pieces such as ‘Air on the G String’ by Johann Sebastian Bach.
In his lifetime, Pachelbel was renowned for his chamber works, but most of them were lost. The Canon and Gigue in D major is one such piece. One writer hypothesized that the Canon may have been composed for Johann Christoph Bach’s wedding, on 23 October 1694, which Pachelbel attended. Johann Ambrosius Bach, Pachelbel, and other friends and family provided music for the occasion. Johann Christoph Bach, the oldest brother of Johann Sebastian Bach, was a former pupil of Pachelbel.
The Canon was first published in 1919 by scholar Gustav Beckmann, who included the score in his article on Pachelbel’s chamber music. His research was inspired and supported by renowned early music scholar and editor Max Seiffert, who in 1929 published his arrangement of the Canon and Gigue in his Organum series. However, that edition contained numerous articulation marks and dynamics not in the original score. Furthermore, Seiffert provided tempi he considered right for the piece, but that were not supported by later research. The Canon was first recorded in 1940 by Arthur Fiedler, and a popular recording of the piece was made in 1968 by the Jean-François Paillard chamber orchestra. It has been arranged for numerous instruments including the electronic synthesizer and more recently for solo ukulele by YouTube artist and teacher, Ukulele Mike Lynch.

Tutorial video on YouTube by Ukulele Mike Lynch

This is most definitely a fingerpicking style arrangement. See the short clip below that shows the very simple chord structure that Pachelbel chose for his iconic piece of classical music. The opening chord on the 1st and 3rd beats should be played with the thumb playing the 4th string . . . Index finger playing the 2d string . . . Middle finger playing the 1st string. Roll that chord with a harp like effect. Thumb continues to play the 4th string then the 3rd string.

music 1

The Pachelbel Canon is basically made up of merely 2 measures. Those measure with their accompanying chord progression repeat with melodic variations. However, since the melody moves up the fingerboard the chords need to move too. This is where chord inversions come in handy. Most basic chords are made up of 3 notes. The order in which those notes are positioned depends on the melody part. Look at the clip below and notice the G major chord. You need to barre the 7th fret while the pinky plays the 10th fret 1st string to make this chord work in its high inversion.

Music 2 High G chord inversion

Simply playing the 10th fret 1st string creates the high inversion Cmajor chord as shown in the clip below.

Music 3 more high inversion chords

Tablature for “PACHELBEL CANON” is available for purchase by paying $5.39 through the paypal donate button on the Ukulele Mike website:

I have plenty of solo ukulele instrumentals available for playing enjoyment.
Here is a link to a former blog I did detailing my ENTIRE CATALOG of available solo ukulele instrumentals . . .

This arrangement plus 15 more are heard on the newly released “HEART STRINGS” CD . . It can be purchased for $12.95 through the paypal donate button on the Ukulele Mike website:
$3.00 shipping within the US . . . $7.00 shipping outside the US

One Comment leave one →
  1. March 27, 2014 2:54 p03

    Reblogged this on UKULELE MIKE LYNCH – All things UKULELE.

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