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Canon in D - Classical Fingerstyle Guitar (Johann Pachelbel)

The classic Canon in D by Johann Pachelbel arranged for solo fingerstyle guitar. The trick to creating fingerstyle arrangements is to fully grasp the melody and harmony of the piece. Here you will see that I am only reading the notes of the melody, and improvising the harmonies (chords) that accompany it. Once you've mastered your scales and chord shapes, you can create any fingerstyle arrangement on the spot upon hearing the music.


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How do you create a fingerstyle arrangement?

The key is to first understand the elements of melody and harmony SEPARATELY, and thereafter combine them together.


D major:

The key is pretty straightforward. Here I'm using a capo on the second fret and playing in C major shapes - which gives us a tonality of D major.

Constant chord progression:

The chords in this piece never change, it's a repeating cycle of I - V - vi - iii - IV - I - IV - V throughout.


Major scale:

This piece is 99% diatonic, meaning it only uses notes in the D major scale. In the entire piece, there are only TWO notes outside of the scale.

Scale positions:

Practice (LOTS) your major scale positions such that your fingers immediately know where to go to create the melody.


Chord melody style:

A very popular approach to creating fingerstyle arrangements is to hold the underlying chord shape while playing the melody on the upper register.

Visualise the melody:

Follow along the notes in the video, and match them with the melody you hear. This is key to processing the melody independently from the harmonies accompanying it.

Music Score:

Thank you for listening in! Follow along my musical journey on my YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, and website as I share new music videos and lessons each and every week.

By Neil Chan


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