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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".



Beautiful Ohio

(1918 )  



Music by: Mary Earl (R.A. King)

Lyrics: Ballard MacDonald

Arr: Merv Rowley


            Authoritative sources have said the word Ohio is derived from an Iroquois Indian term meaning “great beautiful river”, from which the state took its name. The music for this song was written by Mary Earl, a pseudonym for composer Robert A. King, as an adaptation from an earlier waltz of the same name. From the lyrics of the chorus seen here, it is apparent that the song is indeed about the Ohio River. First published in 1918, Beautiful Ohio led all other songs in sales for the year. One early reviewer of the music described it as a haunting waltz with a chromatic strain of melody similar to Rimsky Korsakoff’s “Song of India”.


            In 1969 this song was adopted by the legislature of the State of Ohio as the official state song. Some twenty years later, a statute of revision was approved, adopting revised lyrics by an Ohio attorney, W.B. McBride. Details appear in one of the following Historical Links.


            The music of this month’s selection is dedicated to the dulcimer folks living anywhere along the course of this important river, from its source in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, past border states West Virginia, Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana and Illinois to its terminus at Cairo, where it joins the mighty Mississippi.




            About the Music:  Readers who examine the PDF file for this music may be surprised or shocked to notice a couple of unusual features: the tuning D-F#-A is normal enough, but the key signature is B major! This may well be the first and only time that dulcimer music has been arranged in this key. Not only that, players are instructed to place a CAPO at fret number 2!


The answer to this situation has to do with the features of the music itself. Readers will notice that measures 1, 2, 5, 6, 17, 18, 21 and 22 all contain groups of eighth-notes separated by half-tone intervals… F, E, Eb and G, F#, E. The only place on our diatonic fretboard where frets are found with half-tone spacings of more than two notes is the range between frets 5, 6, 6+ and 7. We can use this fact to advantage by moving our key choice up to the fifth fret (B-D#-F#), which is the key of B major. This allows us to play these runs of notes comfortably.  The use of the capo arises from the fact that the music calls for chords F# (measures 4 and 19) and F#9 (measure 11). With no capo, these chords would have to be played as 2/2/5 and 2/2/6+, respectively... quite a finger-stretch. Placement of a capo at fret 2 allows us to play these as 0/0/5 and 0/0/6+.


By following the tablature in playing this beautiful melody and its chords, you will find that it is actually not difficult at all. Just another example of the versatility of 1-3-5 tunings and diligent arrangements.


Your 1-3-5 Team

Download files 


Beautiful Ohio.pdf

Beautiful Ohio.tef

Beautiful Ohio.MID



Historical Links:







  Click to go to the TablEdit website and download their free demo version

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.

  Click here to download a free version of Adobe Reader

Adobe® Reader® is a free software for viewing and printing Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF) files.

  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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