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


  • Estel Marin Universitat de Barcelona
  • Oriol Brugarolas Universitat de Barcelona


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.

Author Biographies

Estel Marin, Universitat de Barcelona

Estel Marín has a PhD in History and Music Sciences from the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona with a thesis entitled L’ensenyament del piano a Barcelona: 1850-1901. She also holds a Bachelor’s in Piano from the Conservatori Superior de Música del Liceu and in Chamber Music from the Conservatori de Badalona, along with a diploma in Education, Music specialisation, from the Universitat de Barcelona. She is a member of the consolidated research group Poció at the Universitat de Barcelona and of the Xarxa d’Innovació Educativa Geografies Literàries 3.0 at the Universitat de València. She has taught piano and music at public schools and developed the design of educational programmes in conjunction with research groups like the Music Technology Group at the Universitat Pompeu Fabra. She has also coordinated the curricular implementation of the basic competences in the area of the arts at the Servei d’Innovació i Formació del Departament d’Educació. She is currently working at the Secretariat of the Consell Escolar de Catalunya. Her most noteworthy publications related to music instruction include “Imágenes musicales del siglo XX”, in Aula de Innovación Educativa, Ed. Graó, 2012; “Desenvolupar competències ètiques a l’educació musical i corporal. Un estudi empíric als estudis de mestre en educació infantil de la Universitat de Barcelona”, in Artseduca, 2012; and “La proyección del bienestar desde la mirada de la gestión cultural”, in Arte y benestar (48-59). Publicacions UB, 2014.

Oriol Brugarolas, Universitat de Barcelona

Oriol Brugarolas has a PhD in History from the Universitat de Barcelona and is an expert in the History of Music, and a Bachelor’s in Piano and Music Theory from the Conservatori Superior de Música del Liceu. He has been a professor affiliated with the Universitat de Barcelona since 2013. He is a member of the research group on Música, tecnologia i pensament en els segles XIX i XX and contributes research and documentation to the Museu de la Música of Barcelona and the Arxiu Històric de la Ciutat de Barcelona (AHCB). As a researcher, he has specialised in the commerce, production, consumption and dissemination of music in Barcelona and Spain between 1780 and 1830. His most noteworthy publications include “La construcción de pianos en Barcelona 1780-1808: los primeros constructores”, Cuadernos de música iberoamericana, 2011, vol. 21, pp. 83-102; “El piano en el Romanticismo: una herramienta necesaria”. Aviñoa, Xosé (ed.), Tecnología y creación musical. Lleida: Editorial Milenio, 2014, pp. 11-49; “El comercio de partituras en Barcelona entre 1792 y 1834: de Antonio Chueca a Francisco Bernareggi”, Anuario musical (published by CSIC), no. 71, 2016, pp. 157-172; L’ensenyament musical civil privat a Catalunya entre 1792 i 1838. Noves aportacions al seu estudi, “Revista d’Història de l’Educació”, XXXII/2, 2018; and “Del piano de Joseph Alsina a los pianos de los hermanos Munné: construcción y comercio de pianos en Barcelona de 1788 a la década de 1830”, Revista de Musicología, XLI/2, 2018.




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