1. Consisting of an artist's original works and works specifically approved by the artist; in other words, "official" for a given fictional setting.
  2. As closely adherent to the implicit rules of a fictional setting as possible and/or careful not to contradict what happens in the official continuity of a setting.

Term used half-jokingly by sherlockians to refer to the original 60 Sherlock Holmes stories written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle published between 1887 and 1927. Seems to be a poor word-play on the author's middle name.

Canon Inc. (originally Precision Optical Instruments) is one of the largest and best makers of cameras worldwide.

With the initial goal of providing domestic Japanese competition to German-made camera equipment in 1933, Goro Yoshida developed and produced a prototype 35mm Camera which he named the "Kwanon" after a Buddhist Bodhisattva (Avalokiteshvara). Yoshida's brother-in-law, Saburu Uchida wanted a more high-class name for the camera, so the two decided on the name "Canon" and applied for the trademark, which they were granted in 1935.

In subsequent years, thriving on the success of the original "Hansa Canon" 35mm camera, the company grew, relocated to larger offices, and began in-house production of components (previously they outsourced for components). The company developed Japan's first domestic indirect X-ray camera in 1940. In 1942, Takeshi Mitarai took the helm as president of the company but was forced to suspend operation of the company in 1945 due to wartime situations.

After the war Mitarai began to rebuild the company and in 1947 it changed its name to Canon Camera Co. in order to appeal to occupant soldiers who showed an interest in the cameras. In 1955, the company, which had grown a great deal in Japan over the past 8 years, opened an American branch in New York. Canon changed its US branch to an affiliated company by the name of Canon U.S.A. Inc. in 1966.

Sales of office equipment as well as camera equipment were booming in the US with the release of 8mm cinecameras and projectors as well as the "L" series 35mm camera, "Canonet" automatic exposure camera, and "Canola" 10 key electronic calculator. During this time Canon also spent a great deal of time and money researching lens production in an attempt to perfect high resolution lenses. In 1969, the company again changed its name to "Canon Inc."

In 1971, Canon released its Single Lens Reflex Camera, the "F-1" 35mm. This was followed by numerous developments in the microprocessing and laser printing areas. In 1976, Canon released the "AE-1" (Auto Exposure #1) 35mm SLR Camera. This camera was the first in the world to use an embedded microprocessor to operate various subsystems. This camera won numerous awards in subsequent years. In 1979, Canon released the "SureShot" or "Autoboy" auto-focus camera. This camera won numerous awards as well.

In 1987, Canon released the "EOS650" SLR Auto-Focus camera in order to compete with Minolta, who took the lead in the marketplace two years earlier with its SLR Auto-Focus camera.

Canon has continued to be absolutely the best damn 35mm SLR camera you can get. Sure, some people swear by Minolta and other brands, but Canon has had the best equipment since mid-20th century and to this date has by far the best 35mm camera lenses you can get.

There are a huge number of cameras that were created and sold by Canon listed here.

Those listed above are merely the exemplary models; those which brought the company much deserved fame and fortune. Other camera models were primarily spinoffs of those models with added or altered features.

Canon Inc. website, http://www.canon.com/

The following writeup provides more detailed information on what a canon is -- in the musical sense. The canon is most often found in classical music, but it appears in other forms as well.


A musical passage in which the melody (or theme) is repeated by one or more voices at a different interval of pitch and/or time. It is the strictest form of counterpoint -- both the rhythm and content must be duplicated. Canons involve the concept of contrapuntal inversion -- two melodic themes playing simultaneously with either or both of the voices singing the bass part for the other.

There are many names given for the two voices of a canon: "proposta and risposta", "dux and comes", "antecedens and consequens", and most simply "leader and follower".


Strictly defined, a canon must contain the following elements:

  1. At least two "voices" -- one of which must follow the other. (The only exceptions allowed are the Crab Canon and the Proportional Canon).
  2. The second voice must be either an exact replica of the first voice or a contrapuntal derivation of the first voice.
  3. The second voice must be "mechanically" generated from the first. It is not just similar it must be an exact replica or an isomorphism.

If a canon follows all of the above rules it is considered "strict". A "canon" which does not closely follow these rules is said to be "free".

Canonical types:

  • Parallel canon:

    • Unison canon:

      In this form the follower is an exact copy of the leader -- maintaining both its pitch and rhythm. The only difference is that follower appears sometime after the leader. Usually this happens somewhere between the 1/2 measure and the fourth measure, but it can appear much later if the composer so desires.

      The trailing voice comes in after two measures are completed in this example using Row, Row, Row Your Boat,:

      leader   : row row row your boat | gently down the stream | merrily merrily
      follower :                                                  row  row row
      leader   : merrily        | life is  but a   dream | 
      follower : your boat      | gently down the stream | merrily merrily 
      leader   :
      follower : merrily | life is but a dream

      Some other well-known examples of this type: Frere Jaques, Three Blind Mice, Var. 3 of the Goldberg Variations (canone all' Unisuono ), and Pachelbel Canon. These can also be classified as circular or perpetual canons. The short vocal canons are usually called "rounds".

    • Octaval canon:

      The "canon at the octave" is just like the unison canon except the follower is one octave above or below the leader. Var. 24 of the Goldberg Variations (canone alla Ottava) is an example of this form.

    • Canons at other intervals:

      Parallel canons can also have their followers appearing at other intervals besides unison and at the octave. The follower has a different pitch that may or may not be in the same key as the leader. A complete transpositon into a new key is possible or it may be adjusted up or down a fourth or fifth (or any other amount though these are most common).

  • Inverted canon:

    Also known as a "canon in contrary motion" or an "anti-line canon", the inverted canon features its follower playing a top-to-bottom inversion of the leader. The follower is flipped over the horizontal and usually moved up or down in pitch to play in harmony and retain its key. For example: if the leader moves up a third then the follower moves down a third. An example of this is Bach's "Canon 3. a 2 per Motum contrarium" in Musical Offering.

    • Mirror canon:

      This is a special sub-type of inverted canon. Here the follower is a top-to-bottom mirror image of the leader. It is constructed so that the follower replicates the precise quality of the leader's interval without adjusting the pitch. This form is one of the most difficult for a composer. Arnold Schoenberg has numerous examples of this form (most have "Spiegelkanon", German for mirror canon, in the title). J.S. Bach is also known for exploiting this form in both the Fourteen Canons on the First Eight Notes of the Goldberg Ground (an appendix to the Goldberg Variations) and in "Canon 9. Canon a 2 Quaerendo invenietis " in his Musical Offering.

  • Crab canon:

    Also known as a "Retrograde canon" or "Reverse canon", the Crab canon features a follower that is a forwards-to-backwards translation of the leader. It is most unusual because the two voices begin and end at the same time -- making the terms "leader" and "follower" a bit of a misnomer. The most famous example of this is Bach's Canon 1. a 2 cancrizans contained in Musical Offering.

  • Proportional canon:

    These also are called "Mensuration canons". In this form the two voices may start at the same, but are not required to do so. They come in two types:

    • Canon in augmentation:

      Also called an "expansed canon", this form has the follower playing at a rhythm slower than the leader. Typically the 2nd voice is played at exactly 1/2 the pace as the 1st voice. Check out Alexei Stanchinsky's Two-part Canon in augmentation in E Flat Minor.

    • Canon in diminution:

      Also called a "reduced canon", this form has the follower playing at a rhythm faster than the leader. Typically the 2nd voice is played at exactly 2 or 3 times the pace as the 1st voice. You'll find an example of this in Bach's "Canon 14. Canon a 4 per Augmentationem et Diminutionem" in the Goldberg Ground works.

  • Spiral canon:

    A form of "perpetual canon", this form is disinguished in that the end of the piece is in a different pitch from the beginning. There are two types of spiral canons:

    • Modulating spiral canon:

      If the new pitch attained at the end is also in a new key then we have a modulating spiral. When the piece is repeated successively it will either endlessly rise or endlessly lower its key. Bach's "Canon 5. a 2 per Tonus" is a famous example of this form.

    • Modal spiral canon:

      In this form the end key will stay the same only its degree will change. When the piece is repeated successively it will either endlessly rise or endlessly lower its pitch -- but will continue in the same key throughout.

  • Accompanied canon:

    This is a canon that has one or more voices of free counterpoint accompanying the canonical voices. The counterpoint is usually chosen in the bass clef so that the canonical voices are free from having to provide the bass tones for each other.

  • Double canon:

    Sometimes called a "canon of 4 in 2", this form has two leaders and two followers. Check out the fourth canon, "Canon Duplex a 4", in Bach's Goldberg Ground works.

  • Triple canon:
    This extremely rare form features three leaders and three followers. Sometimes it's called a "canon of 6 in 3". An example of this one is found in the thirteenth canon, "Triplex canon", in Bach's Goldberg Ground works.
  • Perpetual canon:

    Almost every canon is created so that when each voice ends it can repeat itself at the beginning seamlessly. This allows the musicians to arbitrarily extend the total length of the canon. These can also be called circular canons and in the case of vocal works they are called rounds.

Concluding thoughts

The above styles of canons can be combined with each other to form hundreds of different kinds of canons. A single canon can be described as "perpetual", "spiral", and "reverse" (or nearly any other combination). The more a canon deviates from the simpler and strict forms -- the more it becomes free. When this freedom is taken to the extreme the canon can become unrecognizable as such and may even become more closely related to a fugue.

I was first "turned on" to the canon form -- and specifically the Bach canons - by Douglas Hofstadter in his book Godel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid. I -- being more mathematically inclined (rather than musically) -- was very grateful to discover the canon form as it makes listening to classical music more interesting.

Am I missing anything here? Is any of the above information just plain wrong? If so, send me a /msg and let me know so I can fix it.

Can"on (#), n. [OE. canon, canoun, AS. canon rule (cf. F. canon, LL. canon, and, for sense 7, F. chanoine, LL. canonicus), fr. L. canon a measuring line, rule, model, fr. Gr. rule, rod, fr. , , red. See Cane, and cf. Canonical.]


A law or rule.

Or that the Everlasting had not fixed His canon 'gainst self-slaughter. Shak.

2. Eccl.

A law, or rule of doctrine or discipline, enacted by a council and confirmed by the pope or the sovereign; a decision, regulation, code, or constitution made by ecclesiastical authority.

Various canons which were made in councils held in the second centry. Hock.


The collection of books received as genuine Holy Scriptures, called the sacred canon, or general rule of moral and religious duty, given by inspiration; the Bible; also, any one of the canonical Scriptures. See Canonical books, under Canonical, a.


In monasteries, a book containing the rules of a religious order.


A catalogue of saints sckowledged and canonized in the Roman Catholic Church.


A member of a cathedral chapter; a person who possesses a prebend in a cathedral or collegiate church.

7. Mus.

A musical composition in which the voice begin one after another, at regular intervals, succesively taking up the same subject. It either winds up with a coda (tailpiece), or, as each voice finishes, commences anew, thus forming a perpetual fugue or round. It is the strictest form of imitation. See Imitation.

8. Print.

The largest size of type having a specific name; -- so called from having been used for printing the canons of the church.


The part of a bell by which it is suspended; -- called also ear and shank.

[See Illust. of Bell.]


10. Billiards

See Carom.

Apostolical canons. See under Apostolical. -- Augustinian canons, Black canons. See under Augustinian. -- Canon capitular, Canon residentiary, a resident member of a cathedral chapter (during a part or the whole of the year). -- Canon law. See under Law. -- Canon of the Mass R. C. Ch., that part of the mass, following the Sanctus, which never changes. -- Honorary canon, a canon who neither lived in a monastery, nor kept the canonical hours. -- Minor canon Ch. of Eng., one who has been admitted to a chapter, but has not yet received a prebend. -- Regular canon R. C. Ch., one who lived in a conventual community and follower the rule of St. Austin; a Black canon. -- Secular canon R. C. Ch., one who did not live in a monastery, but kept the hours.


© Webster 1913.

Ca*├▒on" (?), n. [Sp., a tube or hollow, fr. cana reed, fr. L. canna. See Cane.]

A deep gorge, ravine, or gulch, between high and steep banks, worn by water courses.

[Mexico & Western U. S.]


© Webster 1913.

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