ABAB and ABAC Song Forms

The ABAB or ABAC song form is another structure found in jazz and musical theater. A great example of ABAC is Put on A Happy Face (Adams/Strouse 1960), from the musical Bye Bye Birdie.

AGray skies are gonna clear up,
Put on a happy face;
Brush off the clouds and cheer up,
Put on a happy face.
BTake off the gloomy mask of tragedy,
It’s not your style;
You’ll look so good that you’ll be glad
Ya’ decide to smile!
APick out a pleasant outlook,
Stick out that noble chin;
Wipe off that “full of doubt” look,
Slap on a happy grin!
CAnd spread sunshine all over the place,
Just put on a happy face!

The ABAB form is less common but has been known to work in some of The Great American Songbook such as Fly Me to the Moon (Howard, 1954).

Catholic Song Contest