The CVC has developed the Pianolla Roll Digitalize, an innovative and unique system that allows the digitalization of pianolla rolls.

December 2, 2015 at 4:01 pm by
  • The system has been developed in collaboration with the Music Museum of Barcelona and the Robert Gerhard center within the frame of a project lead by the musicology department at the Autonomous University of Barcelona.

The Pianolla Roll Digitizer is the first digitizer of pianolla rolls created in the Iberian Peninsula and the first in the world as a result of a collaboration between institutions. In fact, the Music Museum of Barcelona was the first institution in the world to start scanning the nearly 3,000 pianolla rolls of its collection. Previous devices have been created but only scanned, almost manually, the image of the roll.

This system is the first one in which closely worked together engineers and musicologists, which gives the scanner a very important value, because it allows not only have a digital image of each roll, but also automatically generate a MIDI file of each musical piece and musicologists can interpret the contained information.

The digitizer is a very important step because it means that for the first time, you can preserve this sound support rapidly, massively and permanently; the system addresses digitization of large collections (museums, libraries and other musical backgrounds, etc.) and begins to reveal an important musical heritage virtually unknown until now.

“The pianolla roll is a complex sound support that was very important during the first three decades of the twentieth century. Each manufacturer used different systems to produce their rolls and therefore there is a specialized musicological research in this sense, an area in which the UAB are leaders “, said Francisco Cortés, professor of musicology at the University and director of MUSC Research Group.


Explanatory video on the operation of digitization (Credits: UAB-CVC-The Music Museum of Barcelona- Robert Gerhard center)

Video without subtitles
(Credits: UAB-CVC-The Music Museum of Barcelona-Robert Gerhard Center)


links to the press:

Members of the institutions involved in the project

Members of the institutions involved in the project