Unlike violinist/composers who preferred hiding their own works under false names to prevent loading up the program with their own productions, Bacewicz took advantage of her status as a touring artist to perform her own music, even presenting the premiere of her Piano Sonata No. 2.
Bacewicz's earliest works were for violin or for piano, but starting with a 1933 wind quintet, her catalog quickly grew more diverse. At first, she was primarily interested in classical forms: sonatas, quartets, partitas, and so on. By the end of World War II, though, she had become more fascinated by counterpoint, as can be heard in her four surviving symphonies and in her seven violin concertos, in addition to her two piano sonatas. Bacewicz's music from the early '50s was receiving considerable attention and praise, most notably her fourth and fifth string quartets, her third symphony, and her fourth violin concerto. She essentially put away her violin around 1955 to devote more time to composing. By 1961, with the chamber orchestra work Pensieri notturni, she was attempting to come to terms with serial organization, a struggle Bacewicz eventually abandoned. With her viola concerto, Bacewicz's last major work, she began to return to the earlier idiom that had made her name in the 1950s.
In 1964, Bacewicz said in an interview "Contemporary composers, and at least a considerable number of them, explain what system they used, in what way they arrived at something. I do not do that. I think that the matter of the way by which one arrived at something is, for the listeners, unimportant. What matters is the final result, which is the work itself."