Yes, I'm aware that the correct spelling in the title should only have one "n" in canon, the correct name for a contrapuntal musical composition featuring a lead melody and a following imitative melody, but I'm trying to make a point here.
Johann Pachelbel was a relatively obscure German composer of the baroque era (approx. 1600 - 1750) who probably remained ba-roke throughout his life because his canon was about the only notable thing he wrote.
And even it disappeared for a couple of hundred years until a French orchestra recorded the piece in the late 1960's. That version was picked up by a San Francisco classical radio station in the 1970's and before long there were dozens of best selling versions everywhere.
I first heard it while rehearsing a play in Toronto sometime in the 70's because the director, who loved the tune, had decided it should background a lengthy monologue I had in the final act.
There's a thing about monologues in theatre, especially the long ones in shows that have really long runs. An actor prepares for a monologue the way a long distance runner maps out a marathon. The content and emotion dictate changes in pace, the same way a runner handles hills or being in the middle of a pack.
But overtime, you can fall into a pattern of making a meal of it for a full house or being tired and speeding it up to get the damn thing over with, which aren't good choices.
So the background music helped me keep track of where I was and I could also place the more emotional moments where the music would swell or soften behind them, helping move the audience in the direction the playwright wanted them to go.
It got so I really like Pachelbel's Canon. Until the run of the play was extended. And then extended again. And extra shows were added on Friday and Saturday nights. Then it became this annoying earworm.
And even when I wasn't onstage, I couldn't escape it. Though I hadn't been aware of ever hearing this 200 year old composition before that play, it now seemed to turn up on CBC Radio a couple of times a week. They even used snippets for transitions on news programs and their jolly little quiz shows.
For all I know, the Program Director had been caught up in the success of the play or had found a version he didn't have to pay royalties on. Whatever the reason, I finally just stopped listening to the CBC to maintain my sanity.
Eventually the show's run ended. But Pachelbel's Canon didn't go away. To this day, I still turn off the car radio if it comes on. And yet, when other music plays, it somehow still seems to be there.
There have been times I've felt like the tormented killer in Edgar Allen Poe's "The Tell-Tale Heart".
And then I learned it wasn't just me. That Johann Pachelbel had managed to use his canon to blow up the rest of music.
Listen and Learn.
And Enjoy Your Sunday...