Canon in D (chords and guitar arrangement with tabs)

Canon in D is a piece written by Johann Pachelbel in the 17th century and is often played in wedding ceremonies and graduations. This song has a repeating bass line and series of chords while the melody develops and changes throughout.

We’ll first look at the chords you can use for this piece, learn the progression and finally look at a finger style guitar arrangement for this song.

How to read the guitar chord charts

To clarify how to read the chord charts, the top horizontal line represents the high E string and the bottom horizontal line represents the low E string. The vertical lines separate each fret. The numbers in the blue dots tell you which fingers to use on the fretting hand. 

For example, on the D Major chord, you use the:

  • 1st finger on the 3rd string, 2nd fret
  • 3rd finger on the 2nd string, 3rd fret
  • 2nd finger on the 1st string, 2nd fret
  • 4th string is open (circles represent open strings)
  • X means to avoid a string

You can check this link for more on how to read guitar notation symbols.

Chords for Canon in D Major

The chords for Canon in D are D Major, A Major, B minor, F# minor and G Major.

Try the following chords one at a time until you feel comfortable switching between them.

Here are some other resources on chords:

Canon in D chord progression

Canon in D is based on the following chord progression: D, A, B minor, F# minor, G, D, G, and A. The progression below includes a chord analysis (writing a number above each chord to determine their relation to the key of the song).

You can refer to this simple guide to understanding music symbols if needed.

Canon in D – Guitar arrangement

Here is a finger picking guitar arrangement for Canon in D. If needed, check out how to read guitar tabs.

You can also learn more about how to harmonize a melody on guitar using 3rds and 6ths, which I incorporate in this arrangement.

Get the free guitar practice guide here!

Want to learn more songs? Check out the sheet music with guitar tabs resource on this site.

All the best,


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