Seeger, Ruth Crawford

Seeger, Ruth Crawford,

1901–53, American composer and folklorist, b. East Liverpool, Ohio, as Ruth Porter Crawford, studied American Conservatory, Chicago; stepmother of Pete SeegerSeeger, Pete
(Peter Seeger), 1919–2014, American folksinger, composer, and environmentalist, b. New York City. Seeger, a son of musicologist Charles Seeger and violinist Constance Edson Seeger, stepson of composer Ruth Crawford Seeger, and nephew of poet Alan Seeger, left
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 and mother of Mike and Peggy Seeger. She studied with (1929) and married (1932) the musicologist and composer Charles Seeger (1886–1979). In the 1920s and 30s she and such composers as Henry CowellCowell, Henry Dixon
, 1897–1965, American composer and pianist, b. Menlo Park, Calif., largely self-educated, studied musicology in Berlin (1931–32). Cowell experimented with new musical resources; in his piano compositions he introduced the tone cluster, played with
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, Carl RugglesRuggles, Carl,
1876–1971, American composer, b. Marion, Mass. Ruggles studied music at Harvard and was a friend of Charles Ives. His works are highly original, characterized by complex textures and jagged outlines.
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, and Edgard VarèseVarèse, Edgard
, 1883–1965, French-American composer. In Paris he first studied mathematics and science but became more interested in music. He then studied composition with Roussel and D'Indy at the Schola Cantorum and with Widor at the Conservatory.
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 created a modern American classical music characterized by atonality, dissonance, and new sound combinations, rhythms, and timbres. Among her compositions are piano preludes (1924–28) and a string quartet (1931). Seeger also was an important figure in the preservation and revival of American folk music. She worked on the Library of Congress's American folk song archive, wrote books on folk song (1948 and 1953), and collaborated with John and Alan LomaxLomax, John Avery
, 1867–1948, American folklorist, b. Goodman, Miss. Lomax's first book, Cowboy Songs (1910), contained for the first time in print such songs as "The Old Chisholm Trail," "Git Along Home Little Dogies," and "Home on the Range.
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 on two folk collections.


See biography by J. Tick (1997); studies by M. Gaume (1986), J. N. Straus (1995), J. Tick (1997), and R. Allen and E. M. Hisama, ed. (2007).