Catalan Historical Review, No 14 (2021)

The culture of the piano in Catalonia (1788 -1901): On the emergence of pianomania

Estel Marin, Oriol Brugarolas


By the last quarter of the 19th century, the piano had become a prime cultural, social and commercial phenomenon and was deeply rooted in Catalan society. Proof of this is the increase in piano manufacturing and the consumption of piano music, the Catalan public’s ready access to the repertoire, the consolidation of piano instruction and the massive presence of this instrument in concert halls, universal expositions, cafés, athenaeums, casinos, theatres and private salons. This article provides new information outlining the process by which the piano took root and spread from its arrival in Catalonia in the last quarter of the 18th century until the late 19th century, when it had become the most popular, iconic instrument, as evidenced by the emergence of internationally renowned pianists like Tintorer, Granados and Albéniz. This study encompasses references to piano builders and vendors such as F. Bernareggi and M. Guarro, shops that sold scores like F. España, performers and instructors like J. B. Pujol, instructional materials and centres that taught music, as well as the public and private spaces committed to welcoming the instrument’s sound. This information confirms and reveals the profound development of piano activity and culture in 19th-century Catalonia.

Keywords: 19th-century piano, socialisation, teaching in Catalonia, musical culture, piano industry and trade.

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This work is subject to a Recognition - Non Commercial - Without derivative works Creative Commons 3.0 Spain license, unless the text, pictures or other illustrations indicate the contrary. License's full text can be read at Readers can reproduce, distribute and communicate the work as long as its authorship and publishing institution are recognized and also if this does not entail commercial use or derivative work.

ISSN: 2013-4088 (electronic edition); 2013-407X (print edition)