Pachelbel: Canon for Viola & Piano
by Johann Pachelbel
Viola - Digital Sheet Music

Item Number: 20668814
5 out of 5 Customer Rating
Price reduced from $32.95 to $28.01
Digital Download Instant Download

Taxes/VAT calculated at checkout.

Item Types
Piano,Viola - Level 3 - Digital Download

SKU: A0.548460

Composed by Johann Pachelbel. Arranged by James M. Guthrie, ASCAP. Baroque,Instructional,Standards,Wedding. Score and part. 8 pages. Jmsgu3 #3385399. Published by jmsgu3 (A0.548460).

The famous Pachelbel Canon arranged for viola & piano. Great for weddings & receptions.

Pachelbel's Canon

Pachelbel's Canon is, in fact, the traditional title for a composition by the German composer Johann Pachelbel. Other names for the work include namely: Canon and Gigue for 3 violins and basso continuo, Canon and Gigue in D, and of course Canon in D. We do not know when or why in particular it was written. The oldest copy is surprisingly from the 19th century. It is important to realize that it was a common routine for organists to practice improvisation on the chord progression underlying the canon. Pachelbel originally scored the Canon notably for three violins and continuo. He also in fact paired the Canon with a gigue. The movements are homotonal, to clarify, both are in the key of D major.


In due time, Pachelbel's Canon went out of style and remained in virtual oblivion for centuries. The Jean-François Paillard chamber orchestra, however, recorded an arrangement of it in 1968. As a result, it gained approval.  Many ensembles began likewise to record the piece in the 1970s and by the 1980s became ubiquitous as background music. From the 1970s to the early 2000s, pop songs correspondingly used elements of the piece. The chord progression, in particular, was used this way. Also, since the 1980s, it has been not only wildly popular for weddings, but also for funeral ceremonies in the USA and Europe.

Pachelbel Background

Johann Pachelbel (1653 –1706) was a German composer, as well as an organist. He was furthermore instrumental in bringing the south German organ school to its apex. He wrote a large body of music, both sacred and, equally important, secular. In particular, he uniquely helped develop the chorale prelude and fugue. For this, he has, in fact, earned a rightful place in the company of the most significant composers of the mid-Baroque period.


Pachelbel's music was certainly popular. With this in mind, he also consequently had many pupils. His music expressly developed into a model for the south German composers. Nowadays, Pachelbel is most famous particularly for the Canon in D, as well as the F minor Chaconne, the Toccata in E minor, and of course the Hexachordum Apollinis, a set of variations for the keyboard.


Johann Jakob Froberger and Johann Caspar Kerll were south German composers who significantly influenced Pachelbel. Furthermore, he was especially influenced by Italians such as Frescobaldi and Poglietti. He frequently preferred an articulate, simple contrapuntal style that highlighted clarity. His music is markedly less extravagant and harmonically adventurous than that of Dieterich Buxtehude. However, as a point often overlooked, like Buxtehude, Pachelbel experimented with different instrumental combinations in his chamber music.


All in all, Pachelbel was most famous as a composer for the keyboard. He composed over two hundred pieces specifically for the instrument. Pachelbel was also surprisingly a prolific composer of vocal music. All in all, about a hundred vocal works survive, including 40 or so large-scale works. 

Register for free lifetime revisions and updates at

This product was created by a member of ArrangeMe, Hal Leonard’s global self-publishing community of independent composers, arrangers, and songwriters. ArrangeMe allows for the publication of unique arrangements of both popular titles and original compositions from a wide variety of voices and backgrounds.

About Digital Downloads

Digital Downloads are downloadable sheet music files that can be viewed directly on your computer, tablet or mobile device. Once you download your digital sheet music, you can view and print it at home, school, or anywhere you want to make music, and you don’t have to be connected to the internet. Just purchase, download and play!

PLEASE NOTE: Your Digital Download will have a watermark at the bottom of each page that will include your name, purchase date and number of copies purchased. You are only authorized to print the number of copies that you have purchased. You may not digitally distribute or print more copies than purchased for use (i.e., you may not print or digitally distribute individual copies to friends or students).