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We will be adding more tablature arrangements regularly... please visit again.


Each time a new file is posted in Current Tablature, the previous file is moved to "Archived tab files".


America the Beautiful




[Commemoration plaque atop Pikes Peak]



Words: Katharine Lee Bates

Music: Samuel A. Ward
Arr: Ruth Randle 2009 



It inspired the Cannonball Baker “Sea-To-Shining-Sea” Memorial Trophy Dash, which was run four times in the 1970s, from New York City to Redondo Beach, CA. In The Muppet Movie, Fonzie Bear sings it and then says, “Patriotism swells in the heart of the American bear.” Flip Wilson used it in a comedy routine. The list goes on – Mel Brooks, the movie Red Dawn , Prince. Dan Rather... Many people have sung it including Marion Anderson, Elvis Presley, and Ray Charles, whose rendition is probably the best known. In 1972, when Richard Nixon visited the People’s Republic of China, this song was played for him as the welcome music. The Chinese characters for United States translate literally as “Beautiful Country". This song has been suggested as a replacement for The Star Spangled Banner as our national anthem; So far, this suggestion has not succeeded.


Katharine Lee Bates wrote the poem in 1893, while on a trip to Pikes Peak with friends. They started off in a prairie wagon, but had to take the last part of the trip on mules. Although it was an exhausting trip, the spectacular view was well worth it. Combining this view with other sights of her trip out to Colorado – a view she saw in Chicago, and the wheat fields of Kansas – she scribbled the poem in a notebook. It first appeared in print in 1895, was revised in 1904, and expanded in 1913. This became the final version.


Samuel A. Ward wrote the music that we know today while on a ferryboat, in the summer of 1892. When the tune came to him, he was so anxious to get it written down before he could forget it, that he asked a fellow passenger if he might have his shirt cuff to write on. (Hmmm – I wonder if that is where the idiom ‘off the cuff’ comes from?) He originally intended it to be used with the hymn, “O Mother Dear, Jerusalem”. The first publishing of Ward’s music with Bates’ poem was in 1910, entitled America the Beautiful.




Playing notes: 

This arrangement shows another instance where using a capo on the first fret does not change the key, but instead it greatly enhances one's ability to reach certain long-stretch chords that used to be difficult or impossible for small hands to reach. Capo 1 means that the 1 is already fretted for you, so a 1/1/5 chord, for example, becomes a simple 0/0/5. 


Your 135 Team



Download files 



America the Beautiful.pdf


America the Beautiful.tef

America the Beautiful.mid





Historical Links:



There is a lot of information on Wikipedia about this song. Look here for more info.




One thing I found interesting – there are a couple of books listed as references for even more info. Here is what is said about one of them: “Lynn Sherr's 2001 book America the Beautiful discusses the origins of the song and the backgrounds of its authors in depth. ISBN 1-58648-085-5. The book points out that the poem has the same meter as that of "Auld Lang Syne"; the songs can be sung interchangeably.”







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If you do not have the Tabledit program, please click on the TablEdit banner to download a free .tef reader program.  It includes the ability to play this song at a slower speed (great for learning). TablEdit is a program for creating, editing, printing and listening to tablature and sheet music (standard notation) for fretted, stringed instruments.

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  Our PDF music files are produced from music created with Finale® notation software.


Our .MIDI music files are produced by TablEdit notation software.





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