The María Jesús Casado García-Sampedro Piano Roll Collection is a small group of fifty-four standard piano rolls from Spain. It is representative of a private roll collection that might be found in the home of a Spanish family in the 1920s and 1930s containing Spanish popular music, for instance, zarzuelas, tangos, pasodobles, jotas, and also more general popular music of the time such as Charlestons and foxtrots. Dr. Esther Burgos-Bordonau’s (Universidad Complutense de Madrid ) research gives a glimpse into the history of this personal collection of Maria Jesús Casado García-Sampedro—how her family came to own a player piano and roll collection when as a young girl she studied piano seriously at the Conservatorio de Valladolid in the mid-1940s. This library exhibit relates to and expands on earlier research of Dr. Burgos-Bordonau and her colleagues on the piano roll collection of the Fernández-Shaw Family (2018) and on piano rolls at the Biblioteca Nacional de España in Madrid.

The foundation of her research is a catalog of the collection she prepared where each roll is described fully. In addition, all of the rolls can be examined from the complete digital images included in the exhibit. A concept of what the rolls sound like can also be obtained from the computer emulated audio files produced from MIDI translations of the image files. However, it is important to emphasize that these files are for reference only. The original piano rolls were intended to be played back or performed by a human interpreter, not played by a strictly mechanical process as they are presented here. The human player adds the musical nuances that make each performance unique, unlike a sound recording, where the music sounds exactly the same every time. Nonetheless, the audio files allow the listener to have an idea of the musical content of the rolls.

  • Jerry McBride and Kumaran Arul

N.B. Two of the rolls in this collection were difficult to scan. When these technical difficulties have been resolved, they will be added to the exhibit. Thank you for your patience.