We’ve always been extremely fond of Johnann Pachelbel’s Canon in D. As the real-life Mr. Wapojif has an article coming up on LifeHack about Stephen Malinowski’s brilliant animations (his YouTube channel smalin is worth an immediate subscribe), we decided to focus in on this one composition to wax lyrical.
In the above video, Malinowski used ChromaDepth technology to turn the Canon into a hypnotic kind of whirling circle. It may begin to mess with your mind after a bit – if this is the case, simply shut your eyes, remove your eyeballs, or continue watching until you throw up. The choice is entirely yours.
A Brief History of Canon in D
You’ll no doubt have heard this piece all over the shop – you may know its name, but it also has an odd history. There are no clues from recorded history as to when German baroque composer Pachelbel (1653 – 1706) wrote the thing. At all. It was just, evidently, written at some point from 1653 – 1706.
Although Pachelbel was apparently massively popular during his lifetime, the piece fell into obscurity for hundreds of years after he died. It eventually reappeared in 1919 after a scholar rediscovered it and published the work.
After this, it found popularity from 1968 onwards after it was rearranged, slowed down, and played on the radio for the first time. One such rearrangement was played to Americans in the early 1970s, which left the station inundated with phone calls what the mysterious piece of music was. This triggered off a rush to cash in on its unexpected popularity, with many studios rushing to record and release their take of the Canon in D on vinyl over the subsequent years.
When it featured heavily in the Oscar winning 1980 film Ordinary People, it reached a whole new level. Complete and utter world domination signalled Pachelbel’s monumental rise to prominence, but no one would resent this, we’re sure, as it’s a rather beautiful piece of music.
Spanish classical music comedy troupe Pagagnini lampooned the Canon’s notoriously repetitive bass line back in 2008. Ara Malikian (a virtuoso violinist of considerable critical acclaim) spearheads the troop, although the members don’t perform regularly as they’re primarily serious musicians. The dude with the stylish goatee is Eduardo Ortega, for reference, whilst Thomas Potiron is the one who looks like he should be off modelling.
Although a lot of musicians bemoan the bass line, we rather like it. We guess Pachelbel could have spiced it up a bit… maybe he was drunk when he did that bit, or something. Heck, it’s as good a guess as anybody else has managed. Do you defy us? We’ll prove your point to be uncertain in its authenticity! Until then, simply enjoy the music.