Movies that have used Canon in D Major

Can we name some movies that contain this popular classical song? I thought I remembered it in Master and Commander, but according to IMDB, no. :dubious:

It’s often used in wedding scenes as “set the scene” or background music during the actual wedding. I can’t name any movies off the top of my head, so I know I’m not helping much, but I know it’s always used for weddings.

Ordinary People

Werner Herzog’s *The Mystery of Kaspar Hauser

I hate that song! I had to play it in my high school orchestra. I played the viola. You know that rest-plink-plink-plink bit? That was us. And they couldn’t even bother to write it out. It was two measures, then three two-measure repeat signs, then a new two measures, etc. So you have to play the most boring part in the world and keep accurate count of how many times you’ve been bored by it. Utter torture.

And I’m pretty sure it was used in Ordinary People and a GE lightbulb commercial.

And for a well-deserved skewering, find Sometimes Mother Really Does Know Best, by Christine Lavin, where she answers the question “what would have happened if Pachelbel had been sponsored by Taco Bell?”

Amazon link. Ima go download it right now!

1977’s "Gizmo"
A great documentary about inventions (95% of those shown are failures). Some are quite familiar (the airplane with 7 wings, the guy with the rocket pack on his back, etc).
The great thing is the final scene in which someone is shown descending a ski slope with a hang glider. You think “Oh geez this is going to be disastrous”. He reaches the bottom of the slope, kicks off his skis and takes off into the skies. Then at that moment, the Canon In D Major is played and continues throughout the film’s closing. Very appropriate music. A film worth renting if you can find it.

In Cvltvre Made Stupid Tom Weller reports a recording of “Taco Bell’s Canon”, too.

Johann Pachelbel’s Canon and Gigue in D major is not a song. It is, generically, a piece of music, specificially a canon and gigue. (Imagine!)

No voices are involved, no text, and nothing resembling any sort of song form whatsoever. Incidentally, note that the presence of voices and a text is not sufficient to make something a song. There are vocal canons; they are not songs.

A symphony is not a song; it is a symphony. A mass is not a song; it is a mass. A string quartet is not a song; it is a string quartet. An opera is not a song; it is an opera. A canon is not song; it is a canon.

Calling something a song that isn’t a song is a sign of musical illiteracy, which sadly enough is overwhelmingly pervasive in the U.S. these days.

And don’t give me any crap that you could find a dictionary definition that seems to suggest any piece of music can be called a song. Only a musical ignoramus–especially someone who knows nothing whatsoever about classical music–would think so.

Also, Pachelbel’s Canon and Gigue in D major is not the only such piece in the world; there are other canons in D major by other composers, canon being a generic title. As such, it therefore worth noting the composer’s name.

Regarding the OP: There are few movies in which the appearance Pachelbel’s Canon in D major seemed apropos at all. Usually it is a sign of a lack of imagination, and is pure cliche. Also the recording of that piece in a movie typically features a pathetically underinflected, dull-as-dirt performance and is played ludicrously too slowly as well. Bleah!

[/grouchy for real this time]

That’s cool! I wanna here the rest of that. Sounds like something the Roches might do.

And Knorf, I agree with everything you’ve said (I do cringe when people refer to every piece of music as a “song”) but a bit grouchy long before you even got to the coded part, no?

just sayin’.

I called it a song. I wanted a term that would sound contemptuous and dismissive in the context of classical (Romantic period, strictly speaking) music.

I’ve played it. Still want to call me ignorant?

For the Christine Lavin clip, realize she’s doing that solo, in a live performance.

Could someone direct me to a webpage that has the lyrics for Ludwig van Beethoven’s Violin Romance, Opus 40? Thanks. </hijack>


Right, I already knew that a.) some people are sick of it by now, to say the least and b.) the ‘song’, canon whatever is extremely repetitive, so it’s quite open to criticism these days. I just figure that it’s still a great piece of music, regardless of overuse, and that you don’t have to worry about my musical literacy, I will study the classics in my life. :wink:

extremely :smack:

Of course it’s repetitive… it’s a canon! :smack:


“Nothing to Lose” (1997) with Martin Lawrence and Tim Robbins. One of the bad guys liked it.

Obligatory link to Rob Pavaronian’s Pachelbel’s Canon in D comedy routine/rant.

This thread is resurrected just a day after I read this comic with a similar rant.

Even better is John Finnemore as Pachelbel, invited to play something at a party…

Oh, that is hilarious! I earned a music degree in Film Scoring. A fellow student was so pissed off when he watched a movie with Pachelbel’s Canon in it. He had to write something for composition class and he kept writing phrases that resembled the canon. He finished it, but the chord progression was almost identical. Our teacher started humming the counterpoint to the canon when his tape was played. (Bum, bu-bu-bum, bu-du-du-du-du…)

I’ll be hearing that in my brain for a few hours today. :smiley: