We hand-picked nine guitarists possessing a master’s degree in performance (many of them had a PhD) and at least five years of professional experience playing their instrument (most players had over 25 years of experience). They all asked to remain anonymous but one. Can you guess which one it is?

Data Collection

"Why", a piece by Andrew York was used as the control. Each musician played their own rendition of the piece and the performances were filmed. What’s more, the artists had to put their musical choices into words and fill out a questionnaire. It took a lot of work!


The musicians reworked their pieces in different ways and we kept tabs on them by interviewing them. We followed them very closely.

Data Processing

The footage of the performances and interviews and the interviews was transcribed verbatim. The transcriptions were coded using NVIVO software. A lot of people were involved!


First, we analyzed the content (Bardin, 2006) of the performances and the interviews and the answered questionnaires. Following that, our examination of the footage made as link between the explanations the musicians gave and their action on screen. Finally, we used a theorisation technique (Paillé, 1994) to provide a final analysis. This method provided an in-depth view of what was going on in our guitarists’ heads... and we found quite a lot.


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