Beautiful Belle

As played by Bob Larkan from the Arkansas region

Waltz in B flat

From the Bob Larkan Collection

3 files for this tune:

Melody-Only Transcription (PDF)
Full Transcription (PDF)


78rpm Record (Partial MP3 available at


Beautiful Belle is a lovely, plaintive waltz without the lyrics, but add in the lyrics and it verges on pathetic. The greatest difficulty here is the timing; there is a good bit of broken rhythm, some sixteenth notes, triplets, and fast triplets over sixteenth notes. It seems as if Larkan fiddled Belle in an odd tuning: FDAE, with the fourth string tuned down a step to an F. I am fairly confident that it is in this tuning due to the presence of low F drones as well as D, A, and E-natural drones.

Four times during the recording, Larkan stopped fiddling and sang the following pathetic lyrics:

Beautiful Belle
Beautiful Belle
Beautiful Belle
So tattered and torn

Unlike some of Larkan’s other songs featuring vocal interludes, his timing during the vocals was consistent and accurate in Beautiful Belle. I am therefore pretty confident about the rest durations.

Tune to FDAE (if you want the occasional low F drone).

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