Hey guys!

I'm making progress on my first "real" instrumental song but I'm like in kind of a rut here. I have several different riffs (and 1 modulation! ) that I'm pretty satisfied with as of yet (might change later on),for the rythm guitar.

Now,as of this current moment my song has no ABAB or AABB or ABCSBHABF structure. It's like just....going one direction? (no pun intended btw)

And I'm not sure if I want to circle back to my starter riff later on.

So,my question is this:

Is a song frowned upon if it doesn't have any clear AAB ABA ABAAB or w/e kind of structure? Is there any examples out there?
Last edited by Oddly_Phrygian at Dec 17, 2015,
No, its not required and there is a term for it. Its called Through or Thru composition, when the piece cant be broken nicely into repeating pieces that cant be called A, B, C, etc

There is also strophic form which is similar in that the same thing happens the whole time. So instead of ABABCBA, its just AAAAAAAA.

I seem to remember Meshuggah having a thing for through composing. Schubert's lieder is often cited, as well as some Hadyn and some late Beethoven. I will try to dig up some more examples later.

Here is an example of Mozart mixing all three styles. In some ways, the form is AABA, AABA, AABA, AABA, etc, like a normal ballad form as its now known. However, after each cycle the A and B change. So you are never getting the same B twice, and in that regard its like through composing. Its also like strophic form because if you combine AAB and A all into one A, it looks like AAAAAAAAAAAAAA etc (you would do this if you were trying to highlight the fact that the chord progression never changes if you cant AABA all as one A)


As with most form things, there are multiple ways to call the same thing.

This ligeti piece is more or less through composed. Even though there are similar textures, there is not enough harmonic or melodic information that stays consistent to confidently give this piece a form. Therefore, I would call it through composed


Here is a strophic form. Try not to laugh, Im being serious


Here is a straight up AAB. They vamp the A twice in a row, go to a major blues on the B, then back to A

Last edited by bassalloverthe at Dec 17, 2015,
Quote by Oddly_Phrygian
Huh,cool. I didn't know it was a thing! The more you know,eh Thanks man!

Np bruh
Far from being frowned upon, some of the best songs in the world are through-composed. Bohemian Rhapsody, Paranoid Android, Knights Of Cydonia, etc. Just go with it!
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Bassist for Half My Kingdom.
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Far from being frowned upon, some of the best songs in the world are through-composed. Bohemian Rhapsody, Paranoid Android, Knights Of Cydonia, etc. Just go with it!

Actually none of those songs are through composed?

Listening to others now, but paranoid android seems to be aabcbcbcda. Or if you wanna reduce it, you could say exposition, development, recapitulate I suppose which puts you solidly in sonata form. Or abca

Bohemian Rhapsody if I can remember right is intro, ababcde, reorchestration of intro as coda. Basically another sonata if you call d a development and e a recapitulation

If I recall correctly, Knights Of Cydonia is pretty Strophic but I could be wrong on that.

Op, if you want a compositional tool to write thru composed music, check out colour and talea. They are the two parts of an isorhythm

As far as actually deciding on a specific form, there are a million ways to skin a cat
Last edited by bassalloverthe at Dec 17, 2015,
I have written one song that was AABBCC. It doesn't sound weird at all. Though, the last 8 bars were basically the same as the first bars of the song. But it doesn't really matter. The song would still sound coherent without those.

It's all about whether you can make it sound coherent enough. If the transitions are good, it's good.

I think Wake Up Dead by Megadeth is a good example of (kind of) a thru composition (though you could argue that the first part with singing and the second part with singing are kind of the same idea). And I think it's a mess. It's just riffs after riffs. But I think you can do it better than that. For example listen to some Dream Theater (well, one could say their songs are a mess too, and I don't necessarily disagree). I think they can write instrumental sections that have a good flow. I just listened to Metropolis, and I think as a song it's kind of a mess (and it's not even a thru composition). But it has a good instrumental section that progresses all the time.
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Some of Roy Orbison's songs contained no repeats of sections. "In Dreams" just builds all the way.
Structure lends recognisability and memorability to a tune. It occurs at different levels. Such as repeated phrases (with modifcations) within a section. Or with repeated (or not) sections. If everything changes at all levels,it can be very hard for a listener to get into it. Depends what impact you want to create.