Help me write this verision of Pachelbel's Canon

Edited: November 5, 2017, 3:32 AM · I've been playing violin for only one year. Recently, I came across these two video-recordings of the same person, on youtube:

The music left me ecstatic. The busker can be heard playing his 'remixed' version of Canon. I spent a week trying to write the notes. But I cannot seem to get it right. Could anyone help me write it? (or perhaps share the notes if the sheet is available on internet)

Replies (29)

November 5, 2017, 5:15 AM · Any new version (or any version) of the Pachelbel should have the cello line deleted! Cellists will know what I mean ;)
November 5, 2017, 5:49 AM · @Trevor I know what you mean. Canon is pretty infamous amongst the lot of cellists.
November 5, 2017, 6:11 AM · Here's why:

November 5, 2017, 7:04 AM · on computer or phone download MuseScore(it's free), there are a dozen copies there
November 5, 2017, 7:15 AM · @Jim Auckerman, I already have Canon's sheet, but I want the sheet of the particular version of Canon that the busker in the video is playing. It is a little bit different than the 'original' Canon.
It must be his own version. I like it, and therefore I wish to make a sheet containing his music, for myself. And I require some assistance
Edited: November 5, 2017, 8:01 AM · Not all of these are "original"... check: eeso or reneetj's
Edited: November 5, 2017, 7:49 AM · I'm willing to help you transcribe the Canon in the video. However, my fee is $100 per hour, and accuracy is not guaranteed, and I will not accept a deadline.
Edited: November 5, 2017, 8:06 AM · @Paul - you mean this might be difficult, hmm, it's only notes and staffs- don't they pretty-much write themselves
November 5, 2017, 2:05 PM · I could try. Which video do you want me to refer to? 1 or 2?
Edited: November 5, 2017, 3:14 PM · It's pretty much straight forward, we're not talking about decrypting the hidden cello line of a symphony. Here's only a violin and the melody, just by ear you should be able to do it. Of course your problem is you're just a beginner and it must be quite difficult for you to write that down or guess the notes.
Edited: November 5, 2017, 3:35 PM · @Ella Yu, Thanks a ton. Both the videos involve the same music.
You might require the original sheet music for reference.

(I intended to insert the link to sheet music here, but this website crops a part of it, thereby prohibiting one from copying the entire link, I could send it to your email)

I realized that melody in the video and the one in the original sheet music are the same till Bar No. 15. (music is in 4/4)
Melody in the video changes somewhere around bar 15

Edited: November 5, 2017, 9:25 PM · I guess Canon Rock could even leave you more ecstatic (just in case you don't know). And its sheet music is available.
Sheet music:

Also, the soothing Canon piano versions. I've known two of them but haven't seen anyone play them with violin yet. (sheet music for 1st version available as video on Youtube)

November 5, 2017, 9:04 PM · That guy in the video appears to have improvised that "arrangement" of the Taco Bell Cannonball and he's essentially built up a storehouse of canned licks and fills over the chord changes, and he just mixes-and-matches those. He sounds great -- but why do the same thing every time? (Maybe because the tips are good; I hope so.)

I could probably write it down for you ... but I think the better way to go for you would be to pick up your violin and try your own improv. You'll stumble around a little at first, and your tempo won't be like his right away, but in the end you'll have much better reason to be "ecstatic" when you can play this kind of thing on your own. Start by staying mostly within the D major scale.

By the way another good storehouse of chord changes and riffs for beginning improv can be found in video game tunes.

November 5, 2017, 10:37 PM · I checked both clips, and they each start at different points in the canon, not the beginning. Sorry I'm having so much trouble referring to those videos.
November 6, 2017, 1:57 AM · @Ella Yu, 2nd video. I want to notes from 0:00 to 0:46 (after that is a mere repetition couple of times)
November 6, 2017, 2:00 AM · @Paul Deck I did try, but only on the music-notation softwares. You're right, I should've tried it on my violin before seeking help.
I'll do that right away.
Edited: November 6, 2017, 6:08 AM · Yes one reason to work out improvised material on your instrument is because the player, unless they are spectacularly good, will face practical limitations. Violin improv tends to be violinistic (this is certainly true of Stephane Grappelli, for example) and piano improv tends to be pianistic (good examples there are Erroll Garner and Oscar Peterson) so if you are playing the same instrument you can often find the next few notes with your hands before you find them with your ear. It's when a pianist or violinist decides to transcribe Charlie Parker or Fats Navarro solos that it becomes tough. Transcription of multi-voice material such as Bill Evans or Brad Mehldau is hard too, even for a pianist. Those skills must be built up gradually. A *really* good piano teacher can help. (I had one once, but I was a teenager and I didn't realize the opportunity I was wasting.)
Edited: November 6, 2017, 10:15 PM · Hi Aditya, I have transcribed 0:00-0:46 of video #2. The sheet music may not look great, but it should do. Check it out at
You can message me if you have any questions, concerns, etc. I will post my email address so you can see it if you do post any concerns on the forum.
November 7, 2017, 2:19 PM · Be careful about working for free for those unwilling to do the work themselves, Ella. You're very nice to do that, though.

To the OP: part of what makes that particular "arrangement" work for him is that it's not pre-written. It's improvisational. So if you write it out on sheet music and then play as written, it's not going to come out the same way as if you had added your own improvisational flair to the standard melody.

November 7, 2017, 3:48 PM · Erik, I find it staggering that people will not help each other in a forum setting like this. We are all smart enough to know when we are being taken advantage of, and can quietly withdraw our services, is that need evenuates.

Now, to the original poster, can I suggest this is actually a pretty clear melodic line to work with, and anyone capable of playing it should be able to work it out, and quite quickly. I take it you could read slowly, at least, this music, and that you have done your theory work. (Try transcribing some Charlie Parker, or Coltrane, if you doubt me.)

Put aside 30 minutes a day to learn to transcribe music: it might be the best aural training you have ever done. Start with simple songs, nothing intricate.

First, map out the form of the piece you wish to transcribe. Count bars, mark in repetitions of sections, key changes, clear changes in instrumentation, etc. Many pieces fall into "blocks of 8 or 16". But be open to surprises. (Blues music, of course, is usually 12 bars, but you find 8 and 16 bar blues from time to time.)

Next, write out rhythms. You count while you play, I hope, so transfer this to your listening. Even a fairly new player should be able to hear the rhythms of most melodies. (If you can't do this, start with eaier music, and build your skills.) Sing, tap or play as you go. Count everything. Make sure you can count as you merely listen to the piece you wish to transcribe.

Third, identify the key: major, or minor, or modal (and most modal music we come across is in Dorian, Mixolydian or Aeolian). Much of what we listen to today is tonal, so, major or minor, and key. The starting note, first chords, and final chords should help here.

Proceed then, knowing that scales and arpeggios make up much of our music, and we can identify intervals when the melody leaps.

It takes a bit of practice, but trancsribing melodies is a very reasonable goal to have. And, then, learn to transcribe the chord progression, and voicings (which are just sequential steps beyond transcribing melodies).

If you haven't done your theory study, don't know how to play your scales and modes, and arps, then go there. I suggest.

Thank you to Ella for helping the OP with this piece, and I hope the OP now seeks to transcribe "daily", as it will genuinely help instrumental skill growth.

Oh, and don't ever pay anyone $100 per hour for transcribing a straight forward melody if they can't do it quickly (just an hour or two), and won't "guarantee the notes". Blimey.

November 7, 2017, 3:56 PM · I'm willing to bet Paul's comment was a joke...
Edited: November 7, 2017, 4:10 PM · Gene, thanks for being the voice of sanity here. Asking for $100 an hour was just a silly, off-handed way of saying I didn't have time to help out. I never expected anyone to consider it a serious business proposition, especially with so many outrageous conditions attached.

Okay, that was 75% of it. The other 25% was trying to gently cajole the OP to try a little harder to do the transcribing on his or her own.

Sorry if anyone was offended.

Trigger warning: Obscenities below.


Edited: November 7, 2017, 6:39 PM · I think Gene's interpretation of Paul's first comment is very logical, but I first interpreted it literally because I'm terrible at identifying and understanding jokes. The transcription work is fairly easy because the line that needs to be transcribed is obvious, and the rhythm is predictable and easy to identify. This is fairly difficult work for a beginner, so I'm not surprised that the OP gave up trying. I thank the OP for at least trying, and in no way would I charge any money for any job like this.
November 7, 2017, 7:12 PM · Ella, no doubt it's very, very kind of you to do such thing. I remember my sister asking me for some similar help and I refused :-))
November 8, 2017, 1:14 AM · Graeme: I guess my feeling might be a bit more dry than most about this, since I already help roughly 40 people every week with their problems (my students) and get paid to do so. So, my "extra" energy for helping others tends to be a bit thin when there's no money involved.

I used to spend hours writing out things for students (transcriptions and such) and not get paid for the extra time, and then I eventually got too many people asking similar things of me, and decided that for my own sanity I had to cut off such requests unless there was money behind it.

Hopefully this helps you understand my attitude a bit better. I wouldn't ever discourage anyone from helping others if they want to, but I also like to remind people that usually things like this cost money.

November 8, 2017, 1:41 AM · When my students asked me to transcribe something, I threw aside the curriculum for an hour, and showed the whole class how to transcribe music (using the piece required as the working example). And it was a good investment of everyone's time. Applied theory. Applied musicianship. Applied relationship building.

If, in a given class in a given semester, no student made such a request, transcribing music magically appeared in my curriculum.

Just by the way, the very experienced, world class Jazz musician, Don Burrows, said in a workshop I attended once, that if a first class musician heard a phrase twice and could not transcribe it, then either there was a very serious problem with the recording, or there was a very serious problem with the performance of the phrase. (The piece offered to us here was clear on both counts, I submit.)

Oh, and having been around the traps a few winters, I know a joke when I hear one.

Let's be helpful. I suggest.

Edited: November 8, 2017, 11:42 AM · Repeated
Edited: November 8, 2017, 11:44 AM · I learned to transcribe and find out melodies myself, without a teacher and with no musical training of any way, zero theory is what I had at the beginning. The only thing you needs is PASSION about it. I figured out hundreds of tunes and melodies. Now I know many pieces or songs I learned myself alone, without any help, were wrong, but at that time I didn't know, I thought they were perfect. Now I have a vast experience at figuring out melodies just by ear.

Indeed, I hated in the past any kind of music written down, or tabs, etc... It was all by ear.

November 8, 2017, 11:51 AM · Graeme, these are 40 PRIVATE students I'm talking about, which means that would have been very impractical to get everyone together to do what you're speaking about.

BUT I do appreciate that sentiment and if I taught in a group setting that's exactly the course of action I'd take.

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