Her early work (Chicago, 1924-9) bears the stamp of Skriabin: dissonance, post-tonal harmonies and irregular metres and rhythms are its most significant features (e.g. the Preludes for piano, 1924-1925 and 1927-1928). However, Crawford’s reputation as an innovative and experimental composer rests mainly on her New York compositions (1930-33), such as the outstanding String Quartet ‘1931’, in which serial operations are developed to control structure and parameters other than pitch. In this way, Ruth Crawford Seeger was perhaps one of the pioneers of serialist music.
American composer and folk music specialist who studied the piano and composition in Jacksonville and Chicago. She was married to Charles Seeger, composer and musicologist. Ruth Crawford was an outstanding figure among early American modernists in the 1920s and early 1930s. She joined the circle of ‘ultra-moderns’ around Henry Cowell and had contacts with Bartók and Berg.