Music TheoryForm

What Is Through Composed Form In Music?

Written by Samuel Chase

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There are many types of musical Form. From Classical forms like Sonata Form and Rondo to more contemporary ones like 12-bar Blues and Song form, it is important to learn all of the different types and what makes them unique.

In this post, we’ll look at music in Through-Composed Form. But first, what is Form in music?

What is Musical Form?

Musical Form is basically how a piece of music is structured as a whole.

You can break down different sections of music and then label these sections with letters like A, B, C, D, etc.

These sections could be as big as a full movement or passage, or as small as a bar or phrase.

You then analyze the piece to see if any sections repeat.

For instance, a verse in a pop song could be labelled A, and the chorus B, and then if that verse and chorus are repeated back to back, it would look like ABAB. 

Check out our other posts on Form if you want to learn about some of the other popular musical forms.

Through-Composed Form

A piece of music that has a Through-Composed Form is somewhat similar to a piece with Medley Form.

A through-composed piece of music is known for being continuous, non-sectional, and non-repetitive.

In letters, it would look like ABCD, with every section being different and none of them repeating.

A song is said to be Through-Composed if each new stanza of lyrics is accompanied by different music.

So a song with the same music but different, non-repeating lyrics in each verse is not considered Through-Composed.

Check out our post on Strophic Form if you want to learn more about that style.

Examples Of Through Composed Form

A piece of classical music that has a through-composed form is the song “Halt!” by Schubert.

Whereas other pieces in his “Lieder” have the same music for multiple stanzas, this piece has different music for each new stanza of text.

Halt – Schubert

Other, more famous examples of through-composed music are “Happiness is a Warm Gun” by The Beatles, and “Bohemian Rhapsody” by Queen.

Each has repeated sections, but once a section is left it is never revisited. So, the letter structure might look something like AABCCD… which is still considered through-composed.

“Happiness is a Warm Gun” – The Beatles
Bohemian Rhapsody – Queen

In Summary

Through-Composed Form is one of the less popular musical forms.

It has been around since the Classical Era and is still used in music today, but there are only a few examples in any era.

However, it is still helpful to know and common enough that some very famous songs are Through-Composed.

We hope this post helped you learn more about it, and let us know if you have any questions!

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Samuel Chase has been playing music since he was 5 years old, and teaching music since he was 13. He has a PhD in Music from the University of Surrey, and he has composed music that has been played in three different countries. He is currently working as a film composer and writing a book on film music.