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Is Christmas Canon the same as Canon in D?

During the festive season, people love listening to Christmas carols, and one of the popular ones is “Christmas Canon.” It’s a beautiful and soothing song that has been performed by numerous artists over the years. However, there’s been a misconception that the melody of “Christmas Canon” is the same as “Canon in D” by Johann Pachelbel. In this blog post, we will dive deep into the origins of both “Christmas Canon” and “Canon in D” and explore whether they are the same or not.

The History of “Canon in D”

Johann Pachelbel was a German composer and organist who lived during the Baroque period. He composed numerous works, but one of his most famous pieces is “Canon in D.” The piece was written in the late 17th century and was originally scored for three violins and basso continuo. The melody is provided by the three violins, which play a simple melody one after the other, creating a beautiful and harmonious sound.

Over the years, “Canon in D” has become one of the most recognized and performed pieces of classical music. The piece is often played at weddings, graduations, and other special occasions.

The Origins of “Christmas Canon”

“Christmas Canon” was not composed by Johann Pachelbel, but it does use the melody of “Canon in D.” The song was created by the American rock band, Trans-Siberian Orchestra (TSO), and was released on their 1998 album, “The Christmas Attic.”

The lyrics of “Christmas Canon” were written by Paul O’Neill, a co-founder of TSO. The song features a choir and a children’s chorus, which gives it an ethereal and celestial quality. The melody of “Canon in D” is played by a string section, accordion, and guitar, and the song also includes other traditional Christmas tunes, such as “Joy to the World” and “Deck the Halls.”

Are “Christmas Canon” and “Canon in D” the Same?

While “Christmas Canon” uses the melody of “Canon in D,” they are not the same piece of music. “Christmas Canon” is a reimagined version of “Canon in D” that includes new lyrics and additional instrumentation. The arrangement of the melody is also different in “Christmas Canon.”

The use of “Canon in D’s” melody also adds another layer of complexity to “Christmas Canon.” Pachelbel’s piece is a canon, which means that the melody repeats itself over and over again, building on top of itself and creating complex harmonies. In “Christmas Canon,” the melody is played throughout the song but is not structured in a canon form, which results in a different sound.


In conclusion, while “Christmas Canon” and “Canon in D” share the same melody, they are not the same piece of music. “Christmas Canon” is a reimagined version of “Canon in D,” created by Trans-Siberian Orchestra, which features new lyrics and additional instrumentation. Johann Pachelbel’s “Canon in D” is a canon, which creates complex harmonies through the repetition of the melody. Both pieces of music are beautiful in their own right and have become popular choices during the festive season.


Why is it called Canon in D?

Canon in D is a popular Baroque piece of music composed by Johann Pachelbel, a German composer, organist, and teacher. The piece has become a popular choice for wedding processions and has found its way into modern pop culture as well. But despite its popularity, many people are left wondering why it is called Canon in D.

The term “canon” is derived from the Greek word “kanon,” which means a measuring stick or rule. In music, a canon refers to a piece of music where one or more voices play the same melody in rounds or imitation. In the case of Canon in D, the three violins in the upper voices play the same melody in a round or imitation. Each voice starts at a different time, and when all three are played together, they create a beautiful harmonization that is synonymous with the piece.

Now, on the other hand, the “D” in Canon in D refers to the key in which the piece is written and performed. The key of D major is one of the most commonly used keys in Baroque music, and Pachelbel composed this piece to be played specifically in that key.

It is important to note that the piece was not initially called “Canon in D.” In fact, the piece was not as popular during Pachelbel’s time as it is today. It wasn’t until the early 20th century when a musicologist named Gustav Beckmann discovered the piece and transcribed it for modern musicians. Beckmann labeled the piece as “Canon in D,” and the name stuck.

Canon in D is called so because it is a prime example of a canon, where three violins play the same melody in a round or imitation. The “D” in its name refers to the key in which the piece is composed and performed. Although the composer himself did not give the piece its name, Gustav Beckmann aptly named it Canon in D, and it has since become one of the most popular and recognizable pieces of music in the world.

Who invented Christmas music?

The origins of Christmas music can be traced back to the fourth century in Rome, where the first hymns were composed. These hymns were typically sung in Latin and focused on the religious significance of the Christmas story. One of the earliest examples is the hymn “Veni Redemptor Gentium,” believed to have been written by Saint Ambrose of Milan in the mid-fourth century.

Over time, the tradition of Christmas music spread across Europe, with composers and poets writing new songs in their native languages. In the thirteenth century, Saint Francis of Assisi is credited with popularizing the singing of Christmas carols, which were originally sung in the streets by his followers.

As Christmas music spread in popularity, it began to take on various musical styles and themes. In the Renaissance, composers such as Michael Praetorius and Johann Sebastian Bach wrote elaborate Christmas cantatas and hymns that showcased their musical skills.

In the modern era, Christmas music has become a ubiquitous part of the holiday season, with a vast catalog of traditional and contemporary songs. Classics like “Silent Night,” “Jingle Bells,” and “Joy to the World” remain popular to this day.

The origins of Christmas music can be traced back centuries to its roots in religious hymns and carols. While the specific inventor of Christmas music may not be known, its evolution and influence over time have made it an essential part of the holiday season.