The Beethoven-Mendelssohn Autoethnographic Project

Title of the research: Autoethnography of a Period Cellist: Performance Psychology and Technical Aesthetics in the Cello Works by Beethoven and Mendelssohn  

Principal Investigator: Adj. Prof. Guadalupe López Íñiguez  

Dates of Research: 1.1.2016–31.8.2018 

Funder: Kone Foundation (grants for postdoctoral researchers, 2015 call) 

Other Support: Uniarts’ CERADA, Uniarts’ CfAR, Sibelius Academy (various departments), Arts Promotion Center Finland, Valencian Institute of Music (Spain), Beethoven Research Center (USA), Oxford University’s Faculty of Music (United Kingdom). 

Public Description of the Project 

Musicologists, psychologists, and musicians seem to understand the learning of instrumental music from the late Classical and the early Romantic periods in different ways. Considering such a paradigm, as an autoethnographer in this multidisciplinary research proposal, I aim to approach the performance psychology and technical aesthetics in the complete works for piano and cello by Beethoven and Mendelssohn by combining my practical knowledge (know-how), research (know-why) and experience (know-what/when/where/who) in a holistic, reflective, and regulated way. The approach to my introspective and metacognitive work will be done following a constructivist system for learning instrumental music and an empirical musicological approach. Data (diaries and narratives, video recordings of study sessions and concerts) will be analyzed by means of mixed methods. The output of this research includes scientific and popularized publications, research-based concerts, conference presentations, organization of symposia and recordings. 


  • To use the autoethnographic method as a tool for self-reflection and self-regulation, by combining my areas of expertise, connecting the autobiographical and personal to a wider cultural group (scholars, musicians, other artists, audience) 
  • To explore how the multidisciplinary combination of period cello performance and educational psychology can transform musicology when working constructively with scores 
  • To analyze what musicology and autoethnography can bring to the psychology of performance and to performance itself 
  • To create artistic output such as research-based concerts in order to share the results with nonacademics, thus going beyond the usual scientific publications and conference attendance 

Results of the Project  

(N.B.: The information below will be updated regularly. Scroll down for a detailed account of all publications and events produced throughout the project.) 

Summary of the Results 

This multidisciplinary project has applied both quantitative and qualitative approaches to the study of the pre-performance and performance practices of a professional musician-researcher. Firstly, to ensure the research would be mindful of experiences understood within the practice, the project has expanded the understanding of autoethnography as self-pedagogy as a powerful resource for improving the preparation for concerts and audio/video recordings of musicians. Secondly, the project developed an innovative methodological approach to the study of self-regulated learning in connection to constructivism from the perspective of a musician-researcher researching herself. Thirdly, the project helped establish a connection between the metacognitive strategies “borrowed” from early music practices—particularly focusing on the historical performance practice (HIP) of the music studied herein according to its technical aesthetics, the organology of musical instruments used, and issues related to the comprehension of original manuscripts and first editions—to enhance the learner identity of the principal investigator. Last but not least, the research has established connections between the abovementioned fields (autoethnography, constructivist self-regulation, and metacognition in HIP) with the fields of embodied cognition, motivation-emotion, and identity—thus, the literature produced by the project exemplifying the development of “internal” guidance and self-instruction in instrumental learning can help other musicians in developing their learning identities.  

Scholarly and Popularized Publications 

  • López-Íñiguez, G. (2019). ‘Epiphonies’ of motivation and emotion throughout the life of a cellist[Special issue on applications of Arts-Based Educational Research (ABER), Arts-Based Research (ABR), and Creative Analytical Practices (CAP)]. Action, Criticism, and Theory for Music Education, 18(2), 157-189. doi:10.22176/act18.1.157| Julkaisufoorumi: 1

  • López-Íñiguez, G. (in press). Musings on notations for cello in Beethoven’s Kafka Miscellany. The Beethoven Journal, 34(1).

  • López-Íñiguez, G. (2019). Report from the symposium ‘Transforming Musicianship: Understanding C19th Historical Style and its Implications for Learning‘, Sibelius Academy, Helsinki, 12th of November 2018. Manuscript in press. Trio, 8(2). Julkaisufoorumi: 1
  • López-Íñiguez, G. (2019). Beethoven and Mendelssohn in the cellist’s flesh: An evocative autoethnography. Manuscript in preparation.
  • López-Íñiguez, G.  (2019). “A performance practice approach to Beethoven’s early works for pianoforte and violoncello.”  Manuscript in preparation.
  • López-Íñiguez, G.  & Author. (2019).  “Variability in and effects of intentional self-regulation across concerts and recordings: A longitudinal-intraindividual study of a cellist studying Beethoven and Mendelssohn.” Manuscript in preparation.  
  • López-Íñiguez, G. (2019). “Spring cleaning for the messy construct of ‘cello’: The development of its nomenclature, role, and construction.” Manuscript in preparation
  • López-Íñiguez, G. (2019). Report: Autoethnography of a Period Cellist: Performance Psychology and Technical Aesthetics in the Cello Works by Beethoven and Mendelssohn. Manuscript in preparation.
  • López-Íñiguez, G.  (2018). “Current reflections on my artistic research of Beethoven and Mendelssohn.” University of the Arts Helsinki’s blog. Link (Published 27.3.2018):ópez-%C3%ADñiguez/current-reflections-my-artistic-research-beethoven-and-mendelssohn  
  • López-Íñiguez, G.  (2019). “Felix Mendelssohn: Complete Piano and Cello Works.” Musicological liner notes for the CD. Recording company: Alba Records. ABCD434. Performer: Guadalupe López Íñiguez, baroque cello; Olga Andryushchenko, Érard piano.
  • López-Íñiguez, G.  (2017).  “Is historically informed performance practice exclusive of early music?”  University of the Arts Helsinki’s blog. Link (Published 16.1.2017):ópez-%C3%ADñiguez/historically-informed-performance-practice-exclusive-early-music  
  • López-Íñiguez, G.  (2017).  “Teaching instrumental music students constructively and fairly:  Theoretical overview and practical guidelines.” In E. Lopes (Ed.),  “Research themes for the learning of musical instruments”  (pp. 104–120).  Goiânia, Brazil: Kelps. 
  • López-Íñiguez, G.  (2016). Kuuluuko tietoisuus historiallisista esityskäytännöistä vain vanhaan musiikkiin?”  Ostinato Nuottilehti,  August volume,  30–32. 
  • López-Íñiguez, G.  (2016).  “Driving myself crazy, or how I got into autoethnography.” Kone Foundation’s blog. Link (Published 2.5.2016): [Suomeksi:  Miten teen itsestäni hullun, tai mite hurahdin autoetnografiaan.] 
  • López-Íñiguez, G.  (2017). “Constructivist self-regulated music learning.”  Finnish Journal of Music Education, 20(1). 134–138.  Julkaisufoorumi: 1
  • López-Íñiguez, G.  (2017).  “Promoting constructivist instrumental music education as a mechanism for pedagogical equality.  Toolkit for instrumental music teachers in Finland.”  Helsinki: ArtsEqual Research Initiative, University of the Arts. (Green paper)  doi:10.13140/RG.2.2.21656.08963.  (Also available in Finnish:  “Työkalupakki soitonopettajille: Konstruktivistisen soitonopetuksen edistäminen pedagogisen tasa-arvoisuuden mekanismina.” doi:10.13140/RG.2.2.11593.03680.) 
  • López-Íñiguez, G. (2017). Report from ArtsEqual symposium “The World of Possibility in the Music Classroom: Constructivism and Embodiment as Student-Centered Approaches to Learning,” University of the Arts Helsinki, 29 September  201 .  Finnish Journal of Music Education, 20(1), 108–109.  Julkaisufoorumi: 1
  • López-Íñiguez, G. (2016–2018). Program notes for all concerts and performances of the project, except one. 

Concerts and Performances 

  • 4.10.2016 Concert at the Sellosali Concert Series, Espoo (Finland) 
  • 1.11.2016 Concert at Theatrum Kloostri Ait, Tallinn (Estonia) 
  • 14.5.2017 Concert at the Nordic Historical Keyboard Festival, Kuopio (Finland) 
  • 12.9.2017 Concert at the Aino Ackté Festival, Helsinki (Finland)
  • 28.11.2017 Concert at Uusi Paviljonki, Kauniainen (Finland) 
  • 18.4.2018 Concert at the Beethoven Research Center, San José, California (USA) 
  • 16.7.2018 Concert at the Piano Salon Christophori, Berlin (Germany) 
  • 8.8.2018 Concert at the BRQ Vantaa Festival, Vantaa (Finland)
  • 25.10.2018 Concert at the Moscow Philharmonic Society’s Small Hall, Moscow (Russia) 
  • 10.9.2018 Inaugural concert at the Perspectives on Historically Informed Practices in Music Conference, Faculty of Music, University of Oxford (United Kingdom) 
  • 11.11.2018 Concert at Organ Hall, Musiikkitalo, Helsinki (Finland)
  • 21.10.2016  Performative autoethnography entitled “Back to the past: Constructively exploring the tensions between modern and historically informed practices in Beethoven’s WoO45 for fortepiano and cello” at the  conference  Arts Without Borders: Perspectives on Collaboration and Interdisciplinarity in and through the Arts,” University of the Arts Helsinki and CERADA, Musiikkitalo, Helsinki (Finland) 
  • 29.4.2017 Performative autoethnography entitled “Performative autoethnography of a cellist-researcher: The dualism of implicit and explicit motivation throughout life” at the Please Specify! International Conference on Artistic Research in Helsinki, by the Society for Artistic Research (Switzerland) and Uniarts (Finland) 


  • (CD) López-Íñiguez, G.  & Andryushchenko, O. (2019). Felix Mendelssohn: Complete Piano and Cello Works. Recording company: Alba Records. ABCD434. Performer: Guadalupe López Íñiguez, Classical Cello; Olga Andryushchenko, Érard Piano.
  • (YouTube) López-Íñiguez, G.  & Andryushchenko, O. (2018). Short promo video of the project.
  • (Vimeo) López-Íñiguez, G.  & K. A. (2018). Short promo video of the project.


  • 19.9.2016 “The World of Possibility in the Music Classroom:  Constructivism and Embodiment as Student-Centered Approaches to Learning.” Event hosted at Camerata, Musiikkitalo (Finland). Speakers: Juan Ignacio Pozo (keynote) and Mª Puy Pérez-Echeverría (Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Spain); Cecilia Björk (University of Turku, Finland); Eeva Anttila, Mª Leena Juntunen, Guadalupe López-Íñiguez (University of the Arts Helsinki, Finland). Organized by Arts Equal Research Initiative and Uniarts’ CERADA. 
  • 12.11.2018 “Transforming Musicianship: Understanding C19th Historical Style and its Implications for Learning.”  Event hosted at Wegelius Hall, Sibelius Academy, Helsinki (Finland). Speakers: Claire Holden (keynote, University of Oxford, United Kingdom); George Kennaway (keynote, University of Oxford, United Kingdom); Tuija Hakkila and Guadalupe López-Íñiguez (Sibelius Academy, Finland). Organized by Uniarts’ CERADA, Uniarts’ CfAr, and the University of Oxford (United Kingdom). 

Invited Talks and Guest Lectures 

  • López-Íñiguez, G. (2018, April 18). “The Beethoven-Mendelssohn Project.” Invited lecture, King Library, Beethoven Center and Schiro Room 550, Beethoven Research Center, San José, California (USA). 
  • López-Íñiguez, G. (2018, March 20). “Musician-Researcher, Reality or Myth? Different Profiles and Career Management.”Lecture-workshop, Sibelius Academy Research Days, Black Box, Musiikkitalo, Helsinki (Finland). 
  • López-Íñiguez, G. (2018, February 8). “From traditional to constructive approaches to playing: A psychological perspective.”  Lecture Series of General Pedagogy, Wegelius Hall, Sibelius Academy, Helsinki (Finland). 
  • López-Íñiguez, G. (2017, November 15).  “Instrumental Music Learning.” Invited talk, ResearchWorks public series, Guildhall School of Music and Drama, Rehearsal Room 1, Milton Court, London (United Kingdom). 
  • López-Íñiguez, G. (2017, November 15).  “The (Im)possibilities of Approaching the Performance of Classical-Romantic Works through Historically Informed Practice.” Invited talk, Historical Performance Forum, Guildhall School of Music and Drama, Room 209, Silk Street, London (United Kingdom). 
  • López-Íñiguez, G. (2017, September 19). “Musicians’ Motivation Discrepancy.” Guest lecture,  Actuals in Music Education, T-Auditorium,  Sibelius Academy, Helsinki (Finland). 
  • López-Íñiguez, G. (2016, August 24).  “Play It Again, Sam! Connections Between Constructivism and Equality in Instrumental Music Learning.”  Guest video lecture for Arts Equal Research Initiative in Finland, 24 minutes.  doi:10.13140/RG.2.2.13150.33604. 

Conference Presentations (Papers & Posters) 

  • López-Íñiguez, G.  (2018, September).  “The Beethoven-Mendelssohn Project: Constructing Historically Informed Performance Musicians’ Learning Identities, or How Time’s Up on Nineteenth-Century Music Orthodoxy.”  Paper presented at the conference Perspectives on Historically Informed Practices in Music. Faculty of Music, University of Oxford (United Kingdom). 
  • López-Íñiguez, G.  (2018, September).  “Learning Identity vs. Classical Music Performance Orthodoxy:A Cellist’s Autoethnography of Embodied Cognition and Self-Regulation.”  Paper accepted for the third Doctors in Performance festival. Vilnius (Lithuania). 
  • López-Íñiguez, G.  (2017, October).  “Propuesta de marco teórico para el análisis de la motivación del músico”  (A theoretical framework proposal for the study of musicians’ motivation.)  Paper presentation at the I Congreso Internacional de Psicología de la Música y la Interpretación Musical. Madrid (Spain). 
  • López-Íñiguez, G.  (2017, October).  “Psicología, musicología e interpretación en el acercamiento holístico a las obras de Beethoven y Mendelssohn.” Poster presentation at the I Congreso Internacional de Psicología de la Música y la Interpretación Musical. Madrid (Spain). 
  • López-Íñiguez, G.  (2017, October).  “A holistic learning model for classical music performance.”  Poster presentation, Sixtieth Anniversary of the Faculty of Music Education, Jazz and  Folk Music, Sibelius Academy, Helsinki (Finland). 
  • López-Íñiguez, G.  (2017, September). “A holistic learning model for classical music performance.”  Poster presentation, Sixth International Symposium in Performance Science (ISPS), Reykjavík (Iceland). 
  • López-Íñiguez, G.  (2017, May). “Autoethnography of a classical cellist: The dualism of implicit motives and explicit goals throughout life.” Paper presentation at the Thirteenth International Congress of Qualitative Inquiry, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign (USA). Selected as part of the special interest group. 
  • López-Íñiguez, G.  (2017, May).  “Bridges to holistic musicianship: Combining historically informed practice and constructivist self-regulation in classical music performance.” Paper presentation at the Thirteenth International Congress of Qualitative Inquiry, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign (USA).  Selected as part of the special interest group. 
  • López-Íñiguez, G.  (2017, February).  “On the road to historically-informed performance: Combining autoethnography and constructivist self-regulation in the learning of Beethoven’s and Mendelssohn’s cello works.”  Paper presented at the First European Congress of Qualitative Inquiry. KU University, Leuven (Belgium). 
  • López-Íñiguez, G.  (2017, February).  “The psychology, musicology and performance of approaching Beethoven and Mendelssohn holistically.”  Poster presented at the First European Congress of Qualitative Inquiry. KU University, Leuven (Belgium). 
  • López-Íñiguez, G.  (2016, September).  “The world of possibility for music students:  Constructivism and embodiment as student-centered approaches to learning.” Rush presented at  ArtsEqual Research Panel, Sonore Music Centre, Helsinki (Finland). 
  • López-Íñiguez, G.  (2016, September).  “Autoethnography of a period cellist: Performance psychology and technical aesthetics in the variation works by Beethoven and Mendelssohn.” Paper presented at the Second Festival Conference of Music Performance and Artistic Research Doctors in Performance, Royal Irish Academy of Music, Dublin (Ireland). 
  • López-Íñiguez, G.  (2016, July). “The psychology, musicology and performance of approaching Beethoven and Mendelssohn holistically.”  Poster presented at the Thirty-second World Conference of the International Society for Music Education. Glasgow (United Kingdom). 

Research Visits 

  • Faculty of Psychology, Madrid Autonomous University (Spain) 
  • Ira F. Brilliant Center for Beethoven Studies in San José, California (USA) 
  • Research Centre Forschungszentrum Beethoven-Archiv in Bonn (Germany) 
  • Beethoven-Haus-Museum in Bonn (Germany) 
  • Grassi Museum für Musikinstrumente in Leipzig (Germany)
  • Schumann-Haus-Museum in Leipzig (Germany) 
  • Mendelssohn-Haus-Museum in Leipzig (Germany) 
  • Bach-Archiv Bibliothek and Bach-Museum in Leipzig (Germany) 
  • Sächsische Akademie der Wissenschaften in Leipzig (Germany)
  • Hochschule für Musikund Theater in Leipzig (Germany) 
  • Music Department of the Staatsbibliothek in Berlin (Germany)
  • Musikinstrumenten-Museum in Berlin (Germany) 
  • Mendelssohn-Remisein Berlin (Germany) 
  • Pasqualatihaus in Vienna (Austria) 
  • Heiligenstadt in Vienna (Austria) 
  • Eroicahaus in Vienna (Austria) 
  • Sammlung alter Musikinstrumente in Vienna (Austria) 
  • Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde Archiv in Vienna (Austria)
  • Mozarthaus in Vienna (Austria) 
  • Museum of Historical Instruments in Glasgow (United Kingdom) 
  • Royal Conservatoire in Glasgow (United Kingdom) 
  • University Collection of Historical Instruments in Edinburgh (United Kingdom) 
  • University of Leeds (United Kingdom)  
  • Bodleian Library in Oxford (United Kingdom) 
  • Ashmolean Museum of Musical Instruments in Oxford (United Kingdom) 
  • Weston Library—Sir Charles Mackerras Reading Room, University of Oxford (United Kingdom) 
  • Bate Collection of Musical Instruments, University of Oxford (United Kingdom) 
  • Victoria and Albert Museum of Historical Instruments in London (United Kingdom) 
  • Royal Academy of Music Museum in London (United Kingdom) 
  • Musical Instrument Collection, Royal College of Music in London (United Kingdom) 
  • Rare Books and Music Reading Room, British Library in London (United Kingdom) 
  • Musée des Instruments de Musique, Bruxelles (Belgique) 
  • Biblioteka Jagiellonska in Kracow (Poland) 

Awards, Reviews, Press, Broadcasting 

  • 11.12.2015 Press release of the project in the Spanish newspaper El Levante
  • 1.11.2016 Broadcasting of the concert at the  Tallinn Theatrum, Kloostri Ait by Klassikaraadio (Estonia).  
  • 25.4.2018 Review in the American newspaper Campbell Express by Guy Takamatsu: “Dr. Mok and Dr. López-Íñiguez were able to generate beautiful music. Performances on these old instruments gave the audience a feel for how the music sounded in 1796. The concert was a delightful and informative experience.” 
  • 2.2.2017 Review in the Estonian magazine Muusika by Aleksandra Dolgopolova: “An ideal ensemble. The musicians felt each other like Siamese twins…genuine feelings and choices, and a slightly extravagant performance.” 
  • 27.5.2017 Review in the Finnish newspaper Savon Sanomat by Jussi Mattila: “Much of this warm-hearted, gentle and social side of Beethoven was emphasized in the concert…the performances breathed together and were characterized by personal touches and virtuosity, with an emphasis on colourful expression. Cellist López-Íñiguez’s performance was filled with lively emotions and a rich palette of colours, finding expressiveness especially in the low and middle registers of the classical cello.” 
  • 1.10.2017  Conference Award by the Society for Education, Music and Psychology Research (SEMPRE, United Kingdom) for my conference presentations in Madrid (Spain). 


  • September 2018 Archival Research Study Morning, University of Oxford (United Kingdom) 
  • September 2017 Workshop on Data Management Plan with Mikko Ojanen, Helsinki (Finland) 
  • May 2017 Workshop on Mixed Methods with Sharlene Hesse-Biber, Urbana-Champaign (USA)  
  • May 2017 Workshop on Performative Autoethnography with Tami Spry, Urbana-Champaign (USA)  
  • February 2017 Deutsch Online Individual Certificate (Anfänger) A1, Goethe Institute  
  • February.2017 Workshop on Mixed Methods with Sharlene Hesse-Biber, Leuven (Belgium) 
  • February 2017 Workshop on The Challenge of Analyzing Qualitative Interview Data with Bernadette  Dierckx de Casterlé, Leuven (Belgium) 
  • November 2016 Workshop on System Analysis with Leena Ilmola, Helsinki (Finland) 
  • February 2016 Cello masterclass attendance with David Watkin. Bach-Archiv  Leipzig 

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