- Written by Joseph Brackett Jr. (May 6, 1797 – July 4, 1882), an American songwriter and Elder of The Shakers.
- The song, written in 1848, was largely unknown outside of Shaker communities until Aaron Copland used the melody in his 1944 composition Appalachian Spring.
- Brackett's tune is also known widely through the lyrics "Lord of the Dance" written by Sydney Carter in 1963.
- The "Tune Lovers Society," an online organization designed to preserve and protect American tunes from the past, sponsors a birthday commemoration for Brackett on May 6.
- This song depicts the Shakers pious life style with grace and, of course, simplicity. The lyrics are:
'Tis the gift to be simple,
'Tis the gift to be free,
'Tis the gift to come down where we ought to be,
And when we find ourselves in the place just right,
'Twill be in the valley of love and delight.
When true simplicity is gain'd,
To bow and to bend we shan't be asham'd,
To turn, turn will be our delight,
Till by turning, turning we come round right.
Listen Here - Copland
Listen Here - Simple Gifts
Listen Here - Lord of the Dance Finale
Listen Here - Yo Yo Ma and Kraus
- Pachelbel's Canon is the most famous piece of music by German Baroque composer Johann Pachelbel. It was originally scored for three violins and basso continuo and paired with a gigue in the same key. Like most other works by Pachelbel and other pre-1700 composers, the Canon remained forgotten for centuries and was rediscovered only in the 20th century. Several decades after it was first published in 1919, the piece became extremely popular, and today it is frequently played at weddings and included on classical music compilations, along with other famous Baroque pieces such as Air on the G String by Johann Sebastian Bach.
- The Canon (without the accompanying gigue) was first published in 1919 by scholar Gustav Beckmann, who included the score in his article on Pachelbel's chamber music. His research was inspired and supported by renowned early music scholar and editor Max Seiffert, who in 1929 published his arrangement of Canon and Gigue in his Organum series.
- Pachelbel's Canon combines the techniques of canon and ground bass. Canon is a polyphonic device in which several voices play the same music, entering in sequence. In Pachelbel's piece, there are three voices engaged in canon, but there is also a fourth voice, the basso continuo, which plays an independent part.
- Listen Here
- The bass voice keeps repeating the same two-bar line throughout the piece. The common musical term for this is ostinato, or ground bass. The chords suggested by this bass are:
Cherokee Morning Song