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!  

The Pachelbel Canon for piano, arranged in the key of C, making use of the broken chord patterns most usually associated with this piece.

Please scroll down the page for the download links.

Is this music is beyond their playing level?

Then check out one of these other pages, shown below, because on this website there are FOUR different pages of the Pachelbel Canon music:

Here are the 4 different "Canon" pages on this website:

A very easy arrangement of the Pachelbel Canon, using Middle C position, one note at a time with both hands sharing the melody.  Chord symbols at the top.

This is the easiest arrangement, found on the page "Canon Sheet Music."  

There are also lettered note versions.

The melody of the Pachelbel Canon is paired with chords in the left hand, either solid triads, or broken triads.

On another page, which is much harder to read, the basic melody of the Canon is paired with left hand chords, solid (as shown) and also broken.  

The chord symbols are helpful for some students.  And confusing for others!  It is important for pianists to learn to interpret chord symbols.

Here on this page, you will find the Pachelbel Canon as you are accustomed to hearing it played at weddings!

Several arrangements, including the original key of D.

Here is the last Canon page.

Page 2 of this arrangement is shown...

On this page of the Canon in D sheet music, you'll find ALPHANOTES (letters inside the music note-heads) in some or all of the note-heads of the music.

This arrangement was written to help an early reader conquer this piece.  

It worked.


Now, back to what's on THIS page!

Here is the first arrangement (scroll down the page to see page 2 of the Canon, and also to find the free PDF download links):

Pachelbel Canon easy in key of C, with long broken chords, at Music-for-Music-Teachers.com

Please scroll down the page for the download links.

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.

Page two:

Pachelbel Canon key of C sheetmusic, with long chords, page 2, Music-for-Music-Teachers.com

Please scroll down the page for the download links.

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, but for small hands!  Scroll down the page for page 2, and the free PDF download link:

Easy long arrangement of the Pachelbel Canon using small broken chords in the left hand.  In the key of C instead of D, at Music-for-Music-Teachers.com

Please scroll down the page for the download links.

Understanding 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!

Easy arrangement of Canon sheetmusic with small broken chords, Music-for-Music-Teachers.com

Please scroll down the page for the download links.

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."

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!


The links for the downloadable piano PDFs:


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.


Download Canon arrangement for small hands



Check out a fancy version of the Pachelbel Canon that even elementary students can play!








Interested in songs from the Bible for your students or church?  Check out my other website, SingTheBibleStory.com!

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Canon in C! 
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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About the Author

Dana Thynes

Hi, I'm Dana!  (Say that like "Anna".)  I'm the owner of Music-for-Music-Teachers.com, and a newer site, SingTheBibleStory.com.

Like some of you, I've been playing the piano since early childhood, and have added a few other instruments along the way, plus an interest in arranging and composing music.

You can find out more about me and the reason for this website at my About Me page.