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How [Pachelbel's] ‘Canon in D Major’ Became the Wedding Song

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    How [Pachelbel's] ‘Canon in D Major’ Became the Wedding Song

    This article appeared in today's New York Times and I thought forum members would enjoy reading it. Here's the link:

    https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/09/f...gtype=Homepage
    Bill

    My home organ: Content M5800

    #2
    From the article...
    "...'To me, the bass line — which is the canon — is evocative of the universals spheres turning,' Mr. Tritle said. "

    Um, no. The canon is in the upper two parts. Violin I plays a nice tune above the 4-measure bass line. When the bass line repeats, Violin II plays what Violin I just finished, while Violin I goes on to introduce something new, which, again, is repeated by Vioin II. So, the two violins could play off the same single line, with Violin II simply starting 4 measures after Violin I started. (I'm not sure how the ending brings everyone to a close.)

    It's hard to say whether Mr Tritle or the journalist is actually responsible for the incorrect information. I've said correct things to reporters who have been very "creative" in their retelling of what I said.

    Comment


    • voet
      voet commented
      Editing a comment
      Also in the article they quote Suzannah Clark, a Harvard music professor. She said:

      “The way it’s set up is that there’s a repeated pattern that happens in the bass line — you hear that, initially, by itself without the violins, and that unit is repeated 28 times in the whole piece — and then you hear the violins come in one after another,” Ms. Clark said. “The reason it’s called a canon is because of what the three violins do in the upper voices: they play in a round.” (Just as you’d hear in “Three Blind Mice” or “Frère Jacques.”)

    #3
    Actually, it is a 3-part canon or round. I had forgotten about the third violin. Here is a visual representation of the canon, which is quite clever:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2PFpgXym4T8
    Note: Red = Violin I / Green = Violin II / Blue = Violin III

    Here's another version with a scrolling score:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rk5DWqls0gg

    We need to remember that a canon has a broader definition than a round. In a ROUND, the parts that follow start on the same pitch as the leader and maintain the same tempo. In a CANON, there is freedom for the parts that follow to start on a pitch different from where the leader started, to be at a different tempo (eg. double time, half time, triple or 1/3 time), to be inverted, to be played backwards, or any combination of these.

    Comment


      #4
      The Pachelbel is lovely with strings (I loved the Paillard recording) but I think playing it ln the organ does the composer a disservice unless you have more than the usual complement of figers and/or hands!

      Comment


        #5
        Maybe it's an appropriate time to share this: Pachelbel Rant.

        Michael
        Way too many organs to list, but I do have 5 Allens:
        • MOS-2 Model 505-B / ADC-4300-DK / ADC-5400 / ADC-6000 (Symphony) / ADC-8000DKC
        • Lowrey Heritage (DSO-1)
        • 9 Pump Organs, 1 Pipe Organ & 4 Pianos

        Comment


        • samibe
          samibe commented
          Editing a comment
          You beat me to it.

        #6
        You bring up an intersting perspective, Michael. People feel very strongly about this piece, both positively and negatively. I once offended an organist friend when I said that I thought it was being played ad nauseam at weddings. It is interesting that young couples who want their wedding to be unique will often follow the herd and request this number. A similar thing occured with the Mendellsohn and Wagner pieces that were de rigueur wedding standards for an older generation.

        Another piece of music that got "played to death" is Ravel's Bolero after it was used in Dudley Moore's 10. Thankfully I was never asked to play this for a wedding.
        Bill

        My home organ: Content M5800

        Comment


        • myorgan
          myorgan commented
          Editing a comment
          Bolero, isn't that some sort of a fight? Hmmmm.

          Michael

        • tbeck
          tbeck commented
          Editing a comment
          Is it? I thought it was a type of Latin music.

        • myorgan
          myorgan commented
          Editing a comment
          Maybe I'm thinking of the Tango. Who knows?

          Michael
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