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.

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

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


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 2:

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


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!

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.

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 Canon, Music-for-Music-Teachers.com


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, Music-for-Music-Teachers.com


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."

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!




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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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