When Johann Pachelbel died in 1706, his contributions to the music world were thought to be complete. The organ tradition, the choral prelude, the fugue – all were triumphantly advanced by the baroque genius, heavily influencing future greats such as Bach, Mozart, and Beethoven. However, neither Pachelbel, nor any musician, composer, or student of music history could have guessed that he would help to make one final contribution to our culture – almost 300 years later.
On December 20th, 2005, someone by the nom de plume of “guitar90” found an interesting musical video and uploaded it to a new internet database. In the video, a black screen opens with the words “Canon, composed by Johann Pachelbel. Arranged by JerryC. Played by funtwo.” The familiar cello and violin opening of Pachelbel’s Canon in D Major begins. The blackness then opens to reveal a mysterious figure with a ball cap pulled down over his eyes. He is sitting on a bed, holding a guitar.
And then he begins.
For the next five minutes, “funtwo” engages in a spectacular display of guitar mastery, adapting Pachelbel’s opus to a modern standard. During the entire performance, the unknown musician never raises his head, never gives a hint of his identity. The only clue to unmasking the virtuoso is his pinky finger. While most guitarists can’t help but use it to support the guitar during frenetic riffs, “funtwo” lets his pinky float, undulating, conducting, almost dancing. This little clue was to help sift through the many imposters.
Tens of millions of fans soon marveled at the ability of Jeong-Hyun Lim, a 23-year-old from South Korea, as he and Pachelbel bridged the gap between past and present and ushered in a new era of communication. They both helped launch the popularity of a new start-up video-sharing website called Youtube.