Practice broken chords and left hand arpeggios with the most popular wedding song in music history.
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Johann Pachelbel was a composer from the Baroque period of classical music, who lived from 1653-1706. He wrote many pieces but none have achieved the type of international fame as his Canon in D.
This seemingly simple wedding march has an iconic bass-line and chord progression that has been repurposed into hundreds of contemporary pop songs, even famously in a 2020 hit by Maroon 5, “Memories”.
|Broken chords in right hand. Steady, repetitive pattern in left hand
How much do you know about Canon in D piano chords?
If you’ve ever been to a wedding, graduation, or some other fancy celebration, there is a good chance you’ve heard the chords for Pachabel’s Canon In D. It is so iconic that often the composers name is left out, and it is just referred to as “Canon in D”. Because of its status, it is a great song to learn and play for others and it is instantly recognizable.
It is also an incredible song to introduce yourself to the key of D major. D major is one of the first keys that pianists will learn, because it introduces the second sharp, F# and C#. It is also a particularly good key to learn how to play with others, because often singers feel comfortable singing in this key.
Tips for playing the song
- Be comfortable with the concept of arpeggios, playing a chord one note at a time
- Make sure all the F’s and C’s are raised by a half step
- Play all the two note chords with the right hand
- Be sure to not play the left hand on beat 1
- Try to think of the song in groups of 8 bars, rather than in groups of 4
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The magic ingredient is the first four notes in the bass: I V vi IV. There are many modern pop songs that use that same harmonic structure. Some of those songs include “Let it Be” by The Beatles, and “Graduation (Friends Forever)” by Vitamin C.