I bought some sheet music for "Canon in D" by JP.
I am trying to put that sheet music into Guitar Pro so I can practice it bar by bar, my question is:

If the tempo is not specified, is there a "standard tempo" just as there is "common time" that I can use?

Below is the sheet music that I bought so you can see what I am talking about.enter image description here

Guitar Pro gives me a tempo of 120 for every new song I add as a default setting, but I think thats a bit fast for this song.

  • 'Common time' is 4/4 because so many pieces are written in it. There could not be a 'standard tempo' using the same concept. I suppose Guitar Pro has to have a default setting, but it's not actually related to anything, and can maybe be changed by the user, although one has to start somewhere.
    – Tim
    Jul 20, 2015 at 6:12

2 Answers 2


Slow it down then. Pachelbel's manuscript has no tempo affixed. With the basso ostinato suggesting a fairly deliberate pace, try somewhere between 72-92 bpm. If the shorter notes start blurring, slow the tempo down a bit; if they are dragging a bit, speed it up.

In general, the tempi specified for a given piece (when specified) are suggestions anyway. Changes in instruments and the hall's acoustics may require an adjustment to the tempo to ensure the music is presented clearly. For instance, music played in a highly resonant hall with a long reverberation time usually needs a bit of slowing down to allow the notes to cut through the reverb.

  • Thank you, not only have you answered my Q but taught me more than one new thing (hall acoustics) !
    – Ryan
    Jul 19, 2015 at 20:27

As Patrx2 notes, JP did not indicate a tempo.

There are reasons that suggest that this piece was played at a moderately fast tempo at the time it was written - say 100-120 BPM, where a beat in this case is a quarter note.

However, when played on strings (violins and bass), modern tastes place this piece firmly in a lento (slow) tempo; say 56-64 BPM.

Having said that, on the guitar I think most people think this piece works best in the 76-96 BPM range - i.e., walking pace, or andante.


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