Alternatives to Pachelbel’s Canon: 5 More Church Wedding Processional Songs

by dave

Alternatives to Pachelbel’s Canon: 5 More Church Wedding Processional SongsAre you a “Canon” person or a “No Canon” person?

As you are undoubtedly aware, Pachelbel’s Canon in D is an extremely popular choice for wedding processional music.

I’ve had brides-to-be come to me looking for ideas for processional songs saying they want “anything but Pachelbel’s Canon!”. There are “No Canon” people out there!

If you like its style but hesitate to choose it for your own wedding it because it’s so commonly used, you may appreciate some alternatives.

In this article, I’ll give you five Pachelbel Canon alternatives you can consider instead that may help make your church wedding music distinctive and memorable.

Another alternative: just play it faster

Before I get to the list, here’s an alternate approach if you still want to use the Canon in D.

My recommended approach to dealing with common or even overused music that you’d still really like to use is to “change it up” a bit. This can mean anything from having an instrument play the piece to playing it in a different style (or tempo). Any of these can add a breath of fresh air to the piece.

In the case of the Canon, let me suggest this recommendation: play it quickly.

In today’s usage of this piece, it’s common to play it very slowly. However, the Canon was written for a much more upbeat style. Ask your musician to play it for you in a more lively, uptempo style and see if that works for you.

If you want to use the Canon but are afraid of how overused it is, this might be the solution your were searching for!

Here are 5 Pachelbel Canon alternative processional songs

  • Handel: La Paix from Royal Fireworks Music
  • Bach: Sheep May Safely Graze
  • Bach: Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring
  • Grandjany: Aria in Classic Style (for harp with accompanying instrument)
  • Purcell: Ciacona in G Minor

None of these are as overused as the Canon. The two Bach pieces might be the closest. They’re frequently used too, but they are nowhere near as common.

I included a few more alternatives in this week’s email newsletter.

What to do next

If you’re searching for something instead of Pachelbel’s Canon but in a similar style or with a similar sound, check these out. Find recordings from your favorite source or turn to your ceremony musician.

Articles with processional song ideas are some of my most popular posts. Search for processionals to find even more ideas. Sign up for my email newsletter—I frequently include music ideas.

What other pieces have you heard in weddings that you think would make a good Canon alternative? I’d love to hear your ideas! Please leave a comment below.

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Donald Lindop August 16, 2014 at 12:25 pm

I can’t think why any bride would want any of these pieces as entrance music. I am now frequently asked for Pachelbel, and play a very much shortened version under protest – but it gets a wedding of to a slow start; the congregation don’t realise the bride is entering; it takes too long, even in a shortened version.
There are so many better trumpet tunes and lively Intradas.
Who ever started the fashion for the Pachelbel? Lovely piece (in its original arrangment for three violins); lousy processional.


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