In the second half of the twentieth century, Osvaldo -one of Pascual La
Salvia (II)'s sons and the pioneer's great grandson- spent his teens trying to recover
antique instruments built by his own family which served different purposes. They allowed
him to form a varied collection of the different models built in the past which, in turn,
encouraged the later creation of the Museum introduce herein.
The main goal of the Museum is to preserve the barrel organ as a
cultural event belonging to Buenos Aires city and Argentina as a whole, based on the
: Nowadays we have modern compact discs and DAT
where the 1melodies we like are recorded and which we are able to reproduce and listen in
our living-room or public places with different amplification volume. Using other
technology, we formerly had vinyl long plays and still back in time we found the legendary
78 rpm paste discs. From several decades we also have radiophony.
But when the twentieth century began these conveniences did not exist.
So, in order to enjoy music we had to go to "live performances", either by solos
or orchestras, or to "machines that made music", that is, instruments which
reproduced melodies mechanically. Within the latter, barrel organs had a prevailing role.
Singularity of its building in Latin America:
Undoubtedly, the integral building and
creation of its own designs and models is a distinctive feature in La Salvia's workshop.
This singularity made some occasional visitors in Argentina, upon knowing about the
existence of this art, entrust the building of some special models in which they requested
the incorporation of traditional melodies as well as those coming from their own country.
Period music's witness and protagonist, at its height
the barrel organ spread the fashionable period melodies and even constituted the support
of non-registered scores in other media.
Its link to Buenos Aires and tango:
Barrel organs were the primitive spreading
channel of tango's melodies in the city slums and downtown in Buenos Aires They were
protagonists in tango's songs: from "Organito de la tarde" ("Afternoon
barrel organ") and "El último organito" ("The last barrel
organ") to "Balada para un organito loco" ("Ballad for a mad barrel
Writers' and poets' subject: Evaristo Carriego, Homero Manzi, and Jorge Luis
Borges, just to mention three of the best known ones, place the barrel organ as a
protagonist in some of their most famous works.
The workshop stopped performing commercial activities in 1984.
Nowadays it is only in charge of the maintenance of the museum material. Original and
antique machines and tools belonging to the workshop hope they'll be exhibit in public
together with the instruments.
Osvaldo M. La Salvia giving an evocative class in 9/3/1997, to the
pupils of the SANTA COLOMA School, in their Centennial, during the Museum's exhibition.
At present our museum has neither official support nor that of public or private entities
or corporations so as to exhibit its material in public and perform concerts to the people
At his moment it makes some limited
exhibits and special performances, at request, in an itinerant way.
It is worth mentioning the didactic and evocative conferences made
in some primary schools in Buenos Aires, due to its broad receptivity among their pupils
who actually belong to a generation that have never heard or known about it.