Ruth Crawford Seeger's Worlds

Ruth Crawford Seeger's Worlds

Innovation and Tradition in Twentieth-Century American Music

Edited by Ray Allen, Ellie M. Hisama


University of Rochester Press



Interdisciplinary perspectives on the life and work of the esteemed "ultra-modern" American composer and pioneering folk music activist, Ruth Crawford Seeger (1901-1953).
Ruth Crawford Seeger's Worlds offers new perspectives on the life and pioneering musical activities of American composer and folk music activist Ruth Crawford Seeger (1901-1953). Ruth Crawford developed a unique modernist style with such now-esteemed works as her String Quartet 1931. In 1933, after marrying Charles Seeger, she turned to the work of teaching music to children and of transcribing, arranging, and publishing folk songs.
This collection of studies by musicologists, music theorists, folklorists, historians, music educators, and women's studies scholars reveals how innovation and tradition have intertwined in surprising ways to shape the cultural landscape of twentieth-century America.

Contributors: Lyn Ellen Burkett, Melissa J. De Graaf, Taylor A. Greer, Lydia Hamessley, Bess Lomax Hawes, Jerrold Hirsch, Roberta Lamb, Carol J. Oja, Nancy Yunhwa Rao, Joseph N. Straus, Judith Tick.

Ray Allen (Brooklyn College) is author of Singing in the Spirit: African-American Sacred Quartets in New York City.
Ellie M. Hisama (Columbia University) is author of Gendering Musical Modernism: The Music of Ruth Crawford Seeger, Marion Bauer, and Miriam Gideon.

An e-book version of this title is available (9781580466851), to libraries through a number of trusted suppliers. See here for a full list of our partners.


February 2007
39 line illustrations
322 pages
9x6 in
Eastman Studies in Music
ISBN: 9781580462129
Format: Hardback
University of Rochester Press
BISAC MUS020000, MUS050000
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Table of Contents

Writing the Music of Ruth Crawford into Mainstream Music History - Judith Tick
Ruth Crawford's Precompositional Strategies - Joseph N. Straus
Linear Aggregates and Proportional Design in Ruth Crawford's Piano Study in Mixed Accents - Lyn Burkett
In Pursuit of a Proletarian Music: Ruth Crawford's "Sacco, Vanzetti" - Ellie M. Hisama
The Receptioin of an Ultramodernist: Ruth Crawford in the Composers' Forum - Melissa J. de Graaf
Ruth Crawford's Imprint on Contemporary Composition - Nancy Yunhwa Rao
Reminiscences on Our Singing Country: The Crawford Seeger/ Lomax Alliance - Bess Lomax Hawes
Philosophical Counterpoint: A Comparison of Charles Seeger's Compositioin Treatise and Ruth Crawford Seeger's Folk Song AppendixAppendix - Taylor A. Greer
Composing and Teaching as Dissonant Counterpoint - Roberta Lamb
"Cultural Strategy": The Seegers and B.A. Botkin as Friends and Allies - Jerrold Hirsch
Performing Dio's Legacy: Mike Seeger and the Urban Folk Music Revival - Ray Allen, Book Reviews
Peggy Seeger: From Traditional Folksinger to Contemporary Songwriter - Lydia Hamessley


Broad intellectual sweep. . . . Raises questions of great importance to folklorists. . . . Fine scholarship and often elegant writing -- a model of verbal clarity and intellectual complexity. I would recommend this book to anyone interested in twentieth-century American music. JOURNAL OF AMERICAN FOLKLORE [Jean R. Freedman]

Fresh and perceptive. . . . These important chapters [i.e., the whole book] advance feminist musicology by venturing into the lion's den of binary thinking that seems to have shaped Ruth Crawford Seeger's life and work so fundamentally. WOMEN & MUSIC [Beverley Diamond]

Hisama, Tick, Straus, and Rao. . . address reception and performance history and offer detailed analysis that points toward a clearer assessment of compositional innovations and Seeger's independent and creative brilliance. . . . Chapters about Mike Seeger and Peggy Seeger are especially welcome. CHOICE [J. Michele Edwards]

The level of scholarship is impeccable with solid writing throughout. . . . Those interested in American musical culture, feminism, modernist composition, or folk music will greatly appreciate its multiple perspectives and sophistication. NOTES, March 2008 [Sharon Mirchandani]

This collection does full justice to the breadth of Crawford Seeger's accomplishments. Writers with backgrounds in music theory, education, folklore, history, and women's studies take various viewpoints. . . . There are thorough notes, score samples, a discography and a detailed index. The beautiful jacket, binding and endpapers seem fitting. WHOLENOTE [Pamela Margles]

Well-written and insightful. SING OUT!

Pursues in depth the documentary context relevant to Crawford Seeger. . . . Salutary and poignant reading. MUSIC & LETTERS [Arnold Whittall]

What a joy to finally be able to read a set of intelligent essays about Ruth Crawford Seeger's pieces, theoretical ideas, and folk music scholarship. It might be said that all scholarship on Ruth Crawford is, by definition, too late. But with this collection we are a bit closer to catching up. --Larry Polansky, Jacob H. Strauss Professor of Music, Dartmouth College, and editor of Ruth Crawford Seeger's "The Music of American Folk Song" and Selected Other Writings on American Folk Music

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