Canon is a musical form often associated with the Baroque period, having a variety of types. One is a polyphonic device in which several voices play the same melodic line, entering in sequence. Pachelbel's Canon is the popular name for a canon by the German Baroque composer Johann Pachelbel regarding his Canon and Gigue for three violins and basso continuo. In Pachelbel's work, three voices are canonic, but there is also a fourth voice, the basso continuo, which plays an independent part. Since there are no given dynamics or tempi, recordings of a variety of interpretations exist. One should consider the many sources available for study and comparison. Pachelbel's canon consists of just 12 variations, mostly four bars in length. Thus, the canon merges a strict polyphonic form and a variation form. Pachelbel skillfully constructs the variations to make them both pleasing and subtly undetectable. Be attentive to Baroque era practices such as slur markings with crescendo and end of phrase indications. These will help with appropriate period performance.
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