This morning, my Blogging A-to-Z challenge post will discuss a composer whose music I absolutely loathe because of its insipid, simplistic, earwormy pabulum, Johann Pachelbel (1653-1706).
You have, no doubt, heard his Canon in D, which, thanks to its inclusion in an otherwise forgettable film 51 years ago, continues to besmirch weddings and other cultural events with its demonstration of what happens when you strip music down to the essentials and add nothing back. In a way, the Canon in D resembles a lot of modern music by providing nothing more than a repeating theme of such simplicity that only a performance by 3rd graders on recorder could do it justice.
So why did I include this composer in a series on music theory? Because in that simplicity is just about all popular music of the last half-century.
Here are the first few bars of the piece:
It is I-V-vi-I6-IV-I-IV-V, repeated endlessly, until someone in the audience starts yelling "Please, for the love of Dog, make it stop!" Notice that the string parts are also boring, and (because this is a canon) repetitive.
When I say it has infected music in the last 50 years, I mean it's like a staph infection that can shut down an entire hospital. Here, to make the point better than I can, is Rob Paravonian: