In the treatment of the structural dynamic problem of composite materials, two alternate types of formulations, based on the elastic modulus and compliance quantities, exist in the literature. The definitions of the various rigidities are observed to differ in these two approaches. Following these two types of formulation, the structural dynamic characteristics of a composite beam are analyzed. The results of the analysis are compared with those available in the literature. Based on the comparison, the influence of the warping function in defining the coupling terms in the modulus approach and also on the natural frequencies of the beam has been identified. It is found from the analysis that, in certain cases, the difference between the results of the two approaches is appreciable. These differences may be attributed to the constraints imposed on the deformation and flexibility of the beam by the choice of the description of the warping behaviour. Finally, the influence of material properties on the structural dynamic characteristics of the beam is studied for different composites for various angles of orthotropy. © 1990.