Funtwo: Pachelbel’s Canon Rock
About eight months ago, a mysterious image popped up on YouTube, the video sharing site that now shows more than 100 million videos a day. Known only as funtwo, a thin figure in a blue T-shirt, his eyes hidden by a beige baseball cap, was playing electric guitar. The video was called simply “Guitar.” The piece that funtwo played with mounting dexterity was an exceedingly difficult rock arrangement of Pachelbel’s Canon, the composition from the turn of the 18th century known for its solemn chord progressions. The exacting part is the canon itself: a counterpoint played over the bass, originally by the three violins.
Guitar sites, MySpace pages and a Polish video site called Smog linked to it, and viewers thundered to YouTube to watch it. If individual viewings were the equivalent of shipped records, “Guitar” would have gone gold almost instantly. Now, rapidly approaching eight million views, and a spot in the site’s 10 most-viewed videos of all time, this performance by funtwo would be platinum many times over. By following a series of clues, a New York Times reporter was able to trace funtwo’s video to Jeong-Hyun Lim, a 23-year-old Korean who taught himself to play the guitar over the course of the last six years. A close analysis of his playing style and a comparison of his appearance in person with that of the figure in the video, left little doubt that Mr. Lim is indeed the elusive funtwo.
On Oct. 23, 2005, Jeong-Hyun Lim first uploaded his video to a Korean music site called Mule. From there, an anonymous fan calling himself guitar90 copied it and posted it on YouTube with the elegant intro: “this guy iz great!!!” “Funtwo just pure ownz the world,” commented another. Over the past year, as funtwo’s videos have been broadly distributed on every major video sharing site, hundreds of other guitarists have tried their hands at the “Canon Rock.” Neoclassical guitar technique has fallen largely out of favor in American popular music. In the YouTube guitar videos, however, technical accomplishment itself carries a strong emotional component. Many of the new online guitarists began playing classical music as children; they are accustomed to a highly uneven ratio of practice to praise. Mr. Lim’s fans said they watch his “Canon Rock” video daily, because his accomplishments inspire them to work hard.
YouTube Awards for Funtwo’s Canon Rock
#1 – Most Discussed (All Time) – Music
#1 – Most Viewed (All Time) – Music
#1 – Top Favorites (All Time) – Music
Funtwo: Canon Rock
The original arrangement and performance of Canon Rock was by JerryC. JerryC (Jerry Chang) is a Taiwanese guitarist and composer. One of his best-known songs is the Canon Rock, which is a rock version of Pachelbel’s Canon in D. He is 24 years old, and has been playing the guitar for 7 years and piano for 10. The rock re-arrangement displays his technical virtuosity and creative abilities on the guitar, instantly making him a internet phenomenon. Following JerryC’s popularity, numerous covers of Canon Rock have been made in an attempt to emulate JerryC’s unique style. The best-known cover is the one presented above by funtwo, whose performance has become a video phenomenon; interestingly, it has far surpassed the popularity of JerryC’s own original performance of the Canon. As an unsigned artist, JerryC currently has a small repertoire of known covers and original compositions, including:
- Canon Rock
- Rock On
- Whose Autumn
- No More Distance
- Alien Walker
- Wedding in the Dream
- I’m Alright (Neil Zaza cover)
- Sweeping from Heaven
JerryC: Canon Rock
JerryC: Canon Rock (Canon in D)
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