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Aleix Palau | 5 May 2020

The Museu de la Música concludes the digitisation of its collection of perforated cardboard ‎discs

The collection, consisting of approximately 140 discs, is one of the most complete in Spain ‎and has been digitised by the company Accenture. The sound files can be listened to online ‎via the Museu de la Música library catalogue.‎

The Museu de la Música concludes the digitisation of its collection of perforated cardboard ‎discs

After a long process, Barcelona’s Museu de la Música has concluded the digitisation ‎of its collection of perforated cardboard discs dating from the late 19th century and early 20th ‎century. ‎

The museum has one of the most extensive public collections of perforated ‎cardboard discs in Spain, consisting of approximately 140 ‎specimens. By digitising this collection, the museum has made the files for each of the discs and their ‎sound recordings accessible to everyone, via its library catalogue. ‎

The Ariston company produced these discs for an organette that was also called ‎an Ariston. These free-reed instruments were very popular from 1876 ‎and remained in production until 1910.‎

The process of conservation and digitisation by the Museu de la Música of the perforated ‎cardboard disc collection was carried out in several stages. The first was the physical ‎restoration of each individual medium and then a high-resolution ‎photo of every one of the discs was taken.‎

The company Accenture, working altruistically and whom we would like to ‎thank for their commitment and collaboration, created a MIDI file based ‎on the image of the disc, which sampled the audio files with the sound of a crank organ. This ‎process permits users to listen to the music without having to use the cardboard ‎disc directly, enabling us to guarantee the safety and conservation of all the pieces.‎

The result of this long process has given us an insight into what the most listened-to melodies ‎were in Catalonia at the end of the 19th century and beginning of the 20th, revealing an ‎appetite for extracts from opera and zarzuelas, such as La verbena de la paloma, ‎‎La Diva and La Gran Vía; national anthems such asHimno de ‎Riego and (three times the national anthem of Spain) La Marseillaise, and ‎lots of music to dance to such as jotas, chotis, ‎‎sardanas, habaneras and waltzes.‎

Find more information on the Museu de la Música blog

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