Johann Pachelbel (baptized September 1, 1653 ? March 3, 1706) was an acclaimed Baroque composer, organist and teacher who brought the south German organ tradition to its peak. He composed a large body of sacred and secular music, and his contributions to the development of the chorale prelude and fugue have earned him a place among the most important composers of the middle Baroque.
Pachelbel's work enjoyed massive popularity during his lifetime, he had a large number of pupils and his music became a model for the composers of south and central Germany. However, he did not have much influence on the most important composers of the late Baroque such as Johann Sebastian Bach. Today Pachelbel is best known for his Canon in D; it is the only canon he wrote, and is somewhat unrepresentative of the rest of his oeuvre. In addition to the canon, his most well-known works include the Chaconne in F minor and the Toccata in C minor for organ, and a set of keyboard variations called Hexachordum Apollinis.
Pachelbel's music was influenced by south German composers such as Johann Jakob Froberger and Johann Kaspar Kerll, Italians such as Girolamo Frescobaldi and Alessandro Poglietti, French composers and the composers of the Nuremberg tradition. Pachelbel preferred a lucid, uncomplicated contrapuntal style that emphasizes melodic and harmonic clarity. His music is less virtuosic and less adventurous harmonically than that of Dieterich Buxtehude, although like Buxtehude, Pachelbel experimented with different ensembles and instrumental combinations in his chamber music and, most importantly, his vocal music, much of which features exceptionally rich instrumentation. Pachelbel explored variation forms and associated techniques, which manifest themselves in many diverse pieces, from sacred concertos to harpsichord suites.