Belle Catherine (2) (La)

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X:1 T:Belle Catherine [2], La D:Nightingale, "The Coming Dawn" S:Quebecois R:reel M:4/4 L:1/8 Z:Transcribed by Paul de Grae K:C EGce d2 c2|EGce d2 c2|Bcde fefg|ag^fg ec c z| EGce d2 c2|EGce d2 c2|Bcde fefg|ag^fg c2 z2:|: eg-ge gagf|egeg a2 z2|g2 ^fg bagf|ag^fg ec c z| gggg gagf|egeg a2 z2|g2 ^fg bagf|ag^fg c2 z2:||



BELLE CATHERINE [2], LA. AKA and see "Braes of Mar (1) (The)," "Joe's Toes," "Reel de Pius Boudreau." French-Canadian, Reel. C Major (most versions): A Major (Portland). Standard tuning (fiddle). AABB (Songer). According to Québec musician Benoit Bourque, "La Belle Catherine" is a colloquial French-Canadian term meaning an old maid, or an unmarried woman over the age of 25[1]. La Belle Catherine is also the name of a longways formation dance that was popular in Québec, one of the 'grandes danses' of the region. The dance itself may date from the 1700s and has been attributed by Marius Barbeau to French origins[2], and there are several tunes called "La Belle Catherine" in association with dance.

Paul Fackler finds the earliest sound recording of the reel to be Jos Bouchard's "Quadrille Bouchard 5e partie", issued in 1938, and he notes that Bouchard's title is often the name used for the tune in Quebec today. Versions of the reel can vary greatly from musician-to-musician.

Additional notes

Source for notated version: - Dave Marshall (Vancouver, B.C.) [Songer].

Printed sources : - Songer (Portland Collection), 1997; p. 27.

Recorded sources: -Bluebird B-1150 (78 RPM), Jos Bouchard (1938).
Epact 105, Nightingale - "The Coming Dawn" (1994, track 8).
Opus OP-219, Louis Boudrealt - "Portrait du vieux Kebec, volume 2."
Tamanoir ‎TAM-513, "Jos Bouchard, Portrait Du Vieux Kebec Volume 13".
Wild Asparagus WA 003, Wild Asparagus - "Tone Roads" (1990, track 2b).
Pascal Gemme & Mario Loiselle - "Violon du Québec" (track 8 @8:19).



Back to Belle Catherine (2) (La)


  1. Songer, 'Portland Collection, 1997.
  2. Anne Lederman, Encyclopedia of Music in Canada, 1992