A through-composed, circa fifty-minute work, performed without pauses, except for a dramatic grand pause at the end of the first movement, the movements of Ein Heldenleben are titled as follows (later editions of the score may not show these titles, owing to the composer's request that they be removed).
"Der Held" (The Hero)
"Des Helden Widersacher" (The Hero's Adversaries)
"Des Helden Gefährtin" (The Hero's Companion)
"Des Helden Walstatt" (The Hero at Battle)
"Des Helden Friedenswerke" (The Hero's Works of Peace)
"Des Helden Weltflucht und Vollendung" (The Hero's Retirement from this World and Consummation)
A Hero's Life employs the technique of leitmotifs that Richard Wagner used, but almost always as elements of its enlarged sonata-rondo symphonic structure.