Date of Award

August 2020

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Music



First Advisor

Gillian M Rodger

Second Advisor

Tim Sterner Miller


Amy Beach (1867-1944), chamber music, Rebecca Clarke (1886-1979), Ruth Crawford Seeger (1901-1953), string quartet, string trio


This thesis examines how early twentieth century composers Amy Beach, Rebecca Clarke, and Ruth Crawford Seeger made careers for themselves as composers of chamber music during a time of great change. The thesis will examine the cultural expectations for women, the music scenes that each composer was surrounded with, the role of chamber music particularly as a medium, and how these women chose to pursue a career in composition despite the social prohibitions relating to women and work in this period. In the thesis, the string compositions of each composer depict how the women used the compositional techniques that they were educated in and their influences.