The Collection of Rolls


The Maria Jesús Casado García-Sampedro Collection (ARS-0172) is made up of fifty-three 88-note rolls and one 65-note roll titled “Trés jolie” by Emile Waldteufel (1837-1915). A table shows the composers (Spanish, Latin American and other nationalities) and the fifty-four titles recorded on the rolls. There are thirty-two composers from Spain or Latin America and ten from other nationalities, mainly from Central Europe, except for Harry Akst, a New York composer of popular music, who started his career as a vaudeville pianist. His roll is the famous song ”Dinah (roll no. 28, box 2).

Fig. 1. Francisco Alonso
Fig. 1. Francisco Alonso
Fig. 2. Ruperto Chapí
Fig. 2. Ruperto Chapí
Fig. 3. Gerónimo Giménez
Fig. 3. Gerónimo Giménez
Fig. 4. Jacinto Guerrero
Fig. 4. Jacinto Guerrero



Fig. 5. Table of composers and works

The zarzuela is a purely Spanish musical style which consists of a symphonic work with accompanying singing in Spanish. The origins of this musical genre date from the first half of the 18th century but flourished during the 19th until the end of the first half of the 20th century.[1] Both the music and the lyrics were important in this uniquely Spanish musical style, and this encouraged remarkable artists (both writers and composers) to work together. There are real masterpieces within this style of sung theater that rival renowned operas from the same historical period.[2]

The collection contains only nine zarzuela excerpts. This table enumerates the other musical styles in the collection.


  • 9 Zarzuelas
  • 9 Tangos
  • 8 Pasodobles
  • 5 Piano music
  • 4 Fox-Trots / Charlestons
  • 3 Musicals / Revues
  • 2 Waltzes
  • 2 Variations
  • 2 Sonatas
  • 2 Lagarteranas
  • 2 Schottisches
  • 1 Sardana
  • 1 Java
  • 1 Opera
  • 1 Operetta
  • 1 Pericón
  • 1 Petenera
  • 1 Hymn
  • 1 String quartet
  • 1 Jota

Fig. 6. Table of musical styles and with the number of items.

The presence of zarzuelas, tangos, pasodobles, peteneras, lagarteranas, sardanas, javas, and jotas makes this a peculiarly Spanish collection with very different styles and repertoires. It can definitely be considered a Hispanic collection by adding the tangos and pericón, a typical dance from Argentina. There are twenty-two different music styles appearing in the collection because more than one genre applies to some of the pieces, as can be seen clearly in the bibliographic catalog.

Most of the rolls were issued by the Spanish brand “Princesa,” located in Barcelona. It was the main rival of the first piano roll publisher in Spain, “Rollos Musicales Victoria,” of which there are also eight rolls in the collection, including a “Victoria Popular” roll, which has a much more elaborate decorative style compared to the rest of the Victoria rolls. However, the publisher could not be found for the Quartet op. 130, movement 3, Andante con moto by Ludwig van Beethoven (catalog no. 1894), nor for Emile Waldeteufel’s “Très jolie” (catalog no. 2539), a 65-note piano roll.

The latter does not fit with the rest of the collection, because the Casado García-Sampedro pianola could probably only play 88-note rolls. It was found in a box labeled, “Cinematógrafo Nacional” (National Cinematographer), couplets from films by Gerónimo Giménez (catalog no. 1547), but that roll was not found in the collection. The box was in very bad condition and larger than others in the collection, but perfect for holding this roll, which was bigger and thicker than the rest of the rolls (32 cm. instead of 29 cm. in diameter).

Fig. 7. Box containing roll no. 40 (3) of the collection - Fig. nº 7. Caja contenedora del rollo nº 40 (3) de la colección
Fig. 7. Box containing roll no. 40 (3) of the collection - Fig. nº 7. Caja contenedora del rollo nº 40 (3) de la colección
Photograph by Esther Burgos Bordonau ©

The collection was checked against the Princesa and Victoria catalogs from 1929 and 1930.[3] The publishers represented in the collection include Princesa (40 items); Victoria (8); Victoria Popular (1); P.O.C.H from Barcelona (2); Caecilia (2);[4] Ideal[5] from San Sebastián but manufactured in La Garriga, Barcelona (1); the Aeolian Company represented by Izábal in Barcelona (1);[6] and 2 rolls remaining unidentified, both by non-Spanish classical composers. “Barrio reo” by Roberto Fugazot published by Princesa bears the stamp of the French editor, Edifo.

All these elements, as well as the labels, stamps, seals, etc., have been very helpful in finding the origins of the rolls. A large number of them have stamps from Casa Tuero and Crédito Musical, important stores located in the Spanish city of Oviedo. Both were department stores where luxury items, musical instruments, and all kinds of artifacts were sold including piano rolls. In fact, some of the stamps from these companies say “Pianos, Furniture, Tapestry and Autopianos.” The labels give information about the stores, the city where they were located, and even the price of the roll.[7]

Fig. no. 8. Casa Tuero stamp - Fig. nº 8. Etiquetas de Casa Tuero
Fig. no. 8. Casa Tuero stamp - Fig. nº 8. Etiquetas de Casa Tuero
Fig. no. 9. Casa Tuero stamp - Fig. nº 9. Etiquetas de Casa Tuero
Fig. no. 9. Casa Tuero stamp - Fig. nº 9. Etiquetas de Casa Tuero
Photographs by Esther Burgos Bordonau ©
Fig. no. 10. Crédito Musical label - Fig. nº 10. Etiqueta de Crédito Musical
Fig. no. 10. Crédito Musical label - Fig. nº 10. Etiqueta de Crédito Musical

To summarize, this is a special Spanish collection and unique among the Archive of Recorded Sound roll collections. It contains typical Spanish and Latin American musical styles with a prevalence of Hispanic composers. Famous zarzuela titles, tangos, “La Marseillese” (the French national anthem), Beethoven Sonatas, and a Nocturne by Chopin are all present in the collection.

[1] Temes, José Luis. El siglo de la zarzuela 1850-1950. Madrid, Siruela, 2014. Col. El ojo del tiempo, 76.

[2] Prieto Marugán, José. “Los Fernández-Shaw: 77 años de libretos para el teatro lírico”. In: Burgos, E; Carpallo, A and Clausó A. Los Fernández-Shaw y su aportación al Teatro Lírico. Estudio de su colección de rollos de pianola. Madrid, Sedem, 2018. p. 17.

[3] Rollos Musicales Victoria: primera marca española, fábrica fundada en 1905: Catálogo general, 1929. (La Garriga (Barcelona): Joan Baptista Blancafort. 222p. [consultation date: 5th August 2019]; Rollos Musicales de 88 notas con acentuación y autopedal Princesa: Catálogo general, 1930. Barcelona, Moya Hnos. S en C. 141 p. [accessed 5th August 2019]

[4] The location of this publisher cannot be established.

[5] Ideal can be quickly identified because it has an image of the Statue of the Liberty on its label. This brand manufactured rolls especially for export to South America and many of its rolls are typical South American repertoire including tangos, milongas and other dancing styles.

[6] The label on the box (no. 4 of box 1) for “El organillo y yo” from Manuel Font de Anta says “Hijo de Paul Izábal, Sala Aeolian.” Izábal was probably the Aeolian representative in Barcelona offering performances at their concert hall and rolls for sale.

[7] The price appearing in the publishers’ catalogs does not always match the one stamped on the roll.