The Pachelbel Canon in D,
in the Keys of D and C

The Pachelbel Canon in D is the probably the most popular classical music ever. Print out this free sheet music for piano -- your students (and their parents) will love it!  And if this music is beyond their playing level, I have a Middle C version of this classical music, a long version similar to this one, but with some lettered notes to help beginners, and several very easy piano versions as well.


Does your student know an inversion from a root chord?

To play these arrangements easily, it is best if the student is already acquainted with chord inversions.

Root position chords such as c-e-g become easy to spot after some experience, but when a C chord is "in disguise" (such as the combination e-g-c) or "scrambled," kids can find it quite baffling.

In the beginning of the Canon, almost every RH (right hand) chord is an inversion with a different shape from the chord before it. Help your student find PATTERNS in each hand.

Pachelbel Canon easy in key of C, Music-for-Music-Teachers.com
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Pachelbel Canon key of C sheetmusic, Music-for-Music-Teachers.com


Download free sheet music for Pachelbel Canon in the key of C

Here it is in its original key of D, but otherwise just the same as the C version.

What do I mean, look for patterns?

Here's the best example: the LH goes down 4 steps from C, then up 1, down 4, up 1, down 4, turn around 4, then up 1, and start over! There's always SOME kind of pattern if you look, some kind of trick to help your memory.

Careful fingering helps this arrangement work

The fingering in the tricky but beautiful middle section is really pretty good fingering. It even works in the key of D version with the black notes. Almost certainly, your student will want to ignore this fingering, thus ensuring that they take 10 times longer to learn this section than they would otherwise.

Therefore, I suggest spending time playing short sections -- 2 or 3 measures of it -- over and over at lesson time; little, non-threatening amounts. Don't load it on! Assign them LESS than you believe they can do -- then it will seem do-able to them. 

Here is a similar arrangement, for a smaller hand.

Easy long arrangement of the Canon, Music-for-Music-Teachers.com
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Easy arrangement of Canon sheetmusic, Music-for-Music-Teachers.com
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Download Canon arrangement for small hands

I recently had a question about measure 27 of this arrangement:

Question: "According to the score, at Bar 27, both hands have to play the same E4 at the last beat, which I don't know how to do."

Reply: " It is true that both hands will play that E note in the same measure.  So the left hand must let go of the note early, in time for the right hand to play it, despite the fact that the half note indicates the E should be held down for 2 beats.

"Music writing is sometimes a bit of a compromise.  I could have written that left hand E as a quarter note followed by a rest, and that would be a more accurate portrayal of what must happen, but that would have been more musical symbols to interpret what's happening.  I prefer to keep the measures consistent-looking and clean for beginning & early musicians."

Understanding of chords means bigger-sounding music

There are many arrangements of this piece out there on the web. I like these versions of mine because they allow a player whose reading and coordination are still pretty elementary to play a big-sounding piece of music. That is the value of knowing chords!  They can be used like repeatable patterns.



Independence of hand movement 

In much classical music, what makes even simple pieces hard for beginners is exactly the seeming ABSENCE of pattern. Every finger seems to need a brain of its own, because the hands and fingers move independently. That's where your students are headed. In the meantime, playing a beautiful-sounding piece like this motivates them to keep pushing!

The Pachelbel Canon is number one

A classical radio station in Seattle used to have a Top 100 Countdown of the most popular classical pieces just before New Year's Day each year. Invariably, listeners voted the Pachelbel Canon number one!

Can even beginning notereaders learn to play this beautiful music in its longer, fuller form?  I decided to see...

I have a little guy who plays with passion, understands chords, and loves classical music, but who relies on his ear and his quick memory to conquer his music more than I would like!  He is an Artful NOTE-Dodger.  He is long past the super-easy Canon in D sheet music, but he wanted to play a version with the quickly-moving notes of the middle section, the familiar part that even non-musicians recognize.  I decided to help him, if he promised that he would use the fingering I demanded.  He promised.  This is the result (the small graphics are pages 1 and 3; page 2 is large so you can see what I'm talking about with the fingering!):

This arrangement, plus two companion arrangements, is for sale --  $5.00 USD for three easy-to-read arrangements of the Pachelbel Canon.

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I'm excited for you to see the confidence with which your young students will embark on a long and beautiful piece like this with the note names to confirm or correct what their ears may be telling them!  With a little extra help, they can be playing this song - CORRECTLY - long before they would ever meet it in their method books.  I've watched it happen over and over.

When you buy this music, you will receive 3 versions, each 3 pages long.

Arrangement #1 has a letter in each music notehead, plus chord symbols and some suggested fingering.

Arrangement #2 has no chord symbols and no fingering at all, for there is a possibility that you or your students might prefer a different fingering.

Arrangement #3, a "helper" version, is similar to #1.  The chord symbols are retained, as well as the suggested fingering for the middle section, but only a few helper notes are used.  Those are placed mostly at the beginning of a musical line, the beginning of a new section, and the tricky middle section where the hand must execute tucking-under and crossing-over.

BUY ALL THREE ARRANGEMENTS FOR A TOTAL OF $5.00!

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Here is a page from the arrangement with no chord symbols and no fingering, and a page from the "helper" arrangement with just a few lettered notes and some fingering:

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Aside from the fact that these music sheets are going to give your beginner piano students the confidence to work on a hard, "real" piece of famous music,  why should you buy the Pachelbel Canon from me?

  • The 9-page collection is available immediately as a digital download onto your computer, for only $5.00
  • You don't have to download any new software into your computer in order to acquire the PDF. I don't know about you, but I detest clogging up my computer with yet another program I didn't know I needed. You just need a version of Adobe Acrobat or another PDF reader, which all computers come with. If you DON'T have Adobe Acrobat or a similar program, then you couldn't download any of my other PDFs either.
  • The notes are nice and big, making reading easy.
  • I give you permission to make unlimited copies, for your students only. This is a real deal! Ordinarily, one music book, for just one student, will cost at least $5.00, and then there is tax and postage. Please do not share with anyone besides your students.
  • Paypal, the payment system I use, is a secure and recognized payment system. You can pay by credit or debit card, or your bank account. E-Junkie delivers the PDF document, working as a partner with PayPal... your purchase is guaranteed.  Any problems downloading? Email me through the Contact link.

Tip for Printing:

Once you've got the PDF file for the Canon in D sheet music, feed just one page at a time, unless you know you have high-quality paper which won't grab extra sheets when being pulled through the feeder. 

Get Pachelbel Canon Now
$5.00 USD

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Canon in C! Not rated yet
Thanks for this post. I am a Celtic harp teacher, and I always start my students out with Pachelbel's Canon ... in C! We at least work on what you have …

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