Latvian folksongs were largely gathered and published in the 20th century. Vikis-Freibergs begins by briefly summarizing the publication history of the gathered material. (Vikis-Freibergs 1997, 279). Of interest to the author is the way in which the quatrains of the songs follow one another. In the publications some of the relationships of one part of a poem to another is obscured because of a scholarly emphasis on collating thematic patterns. Additionally, the longer songs follow organization patterns which are not always easy to classify. However, Vikis-Freibergs does think that structure is inherent in the idea of composition (Vikis-Freibergs 1997, 280). Therefore, it should be possible to identify compositional organizational patterns. "The argument of the present paper is that stanza sequencing in longer songs is never completely random and that some principles of internal cohesion and structuring are at work even in the most loosely organized strings of texts" (Vikis-Freibergs 1997, 281). The amount of structuring may differ significantly, but there will be some sort of cohesion. Vikis-Freibergs sets out to identify the major elements of a song, then identify how the song might be segmented. From that point, it may be possible to identify organization.
Although many scholars have identified the quatrain as the basic unit in the songs, Vikis-Freibergs considers that in longer songs the basic stanza is actually a couplet (Vikis-Freibergs 1997, 282). She bases this idea on the sense unit of a sentence and the repetitive characteristics of melody, which point more to a couple than to a quatrain. The sensible units, then can be composed one by one, and must be connected to one another.
As a sample, Vikis-Freibergs choses a "text, which we shall call 'The Stone in the River' [which] has been published as song No. 656 in E. Melngailis' collection of melodies from Kurzeme" - a text of eighteen stanzas of two lines each (Vikis-Freibergs 1997, 284). She presents a sample, including the first two lines of text and the melodic setting. The eighteen couplets can be "sebmented into seven independent thematic modules" (Vikis-Freibergs 1997, 285). She finds that all of the text modules are recorded in other places in the corpus of folksongs, showing that the actual elements are common in multiple songs. To make analysis more challenging, Vikis-Freibergs observes that "four of the seven modules of the 'Stone in the River' song are sextets, that is, a basic quatrain unit followed by a third couplet stanza" (Vikis-Freibergs 1997, 287). The links of association within the song overlap with one another and may be show similarities or contrasts. She attempts to show these overlapping links with a chart on pp. 288ff. The song describes the shame a girl would have to bear from gossip and slander in terms of a river being unable to bear a stone thrown into it. While the river not being able to bear the weight of a stone represents the girl not being able to bear shame, a swan is introduced into the sing, representing the girls' possible ability to rise above the challenge of the water. The links, then, show contrast and similarity (Vikis-Freibergs 1997, 289). Throughout the text, the twin themes of sinking under adversity and rising to victory are compared and contrasted. The song goes on to compare the maiden to Laima, the goddess of fate and fortune, who, apparently in this song is looking upon the maiden with favor, allowing her to cross the water on a bridge, also allowing her to cross from girlhood to womanhood safely (Vikis-Freibergs 1997, 296). The song ends rather abruptly with a negative couplete about an apple tree which is broken by time and storms.
Vikis-Freibergs next considers the overall associative organization of such songs in general. She suggests that the songs are classed as associative if they have no sequential development and if they do have associative elements. The associative elements fall into two categories. The first associative element is a theme which exists throughout the song (Vikis-Freibergs 1997, 298). The other would be some sort of syntactic associative elements which could be used. On the whole, between those of meaning and of phonology, there are enough options the poet could certainly make associations.
In the end, Vikis-Freibergs concludes the oral poet would be able to select elements according to desire out of a sizeable store of possible elements. They could be linked together to serve whatever purposes would be desired, whether for making philosophical statements or simply to provide backround and rhythm in work situations (Vikis-Freibergs 1997, 302).