C++ include and redefinition of class error

I am currently programming a program which searches song according to diffrent parameters. In my system there are 2 types of songs: lyric and instrumetal. Since i need to put both of them in 1 vector, I have a song class and a LyricsSong & InstrumentalSong subclasses.

So I there is a Song.h file:

#include <stdio.h>
#include <iostream>
#include <string>

class Song
    std::string title;
    virtual void print();
    virtual void printSong(std::string query);

and there are the instrumental and lyrics subclasses, which are defined this way:

class LyricsSong : public Song
class InstrumentalSong : public Song

both of the include Song.h, and in both of them the class is defines only in the header file.

when I try to run another file which use the both subclasses, and includes:

#include "LyricsSong.h"
#include "InstrumentalSong.h"

(and obviously more cpp libraries), i get the following compilation error:

In file included from /cygdrive/c/Users/Username/Documents/C++ Workshop/ex2/ex2_code/InstrumentalSong.h:16:0,
                 from /cygdrive/c/Users/Username/Documents/C++ Workshop/ex2/ex2_code/songsParser.cpp:26:
/cygdrive/c/Users/Username/Documents/C++ Workshop/ex2/ex2_code/Song.h:6:7: error: redefinition of 'class Song'
 class Song
In file included from /cygdrive/c/Users/Username/Documents/C++ Workshop/ex2/ex2_code/LyricsSong.h:15:0,
                 from /cygdrive/c/Users/Username/Documents/C++ Workshop/ex2/ex2_code/songsParser.cpp:25:
/cygdrive/c/Users/Username/Documents/C++ Workshop/ex2/ex2_code/Song.h:6:7: error: previous definition of 'class Song'
 class Song


  • lines InstrumentalSong.h:16:0 and LyricsSong.h:15:0 are where i include "Song.h"
  • lines songsParser.cpp:25 and songsParser.cpp:26 are where i include InstrumentalSong.h and LyricsSong.h
  • line Song.h:6:7: is the defination of Song.h (where it's say's class Song, as showed above).

What should I do? P.S. I do not import any cpp file ever, only header files.

You have to tell preprocessor to include your header files only once. You can achieve by adding #pragma once on the top of all *.h files:

#pragma once

//Your header file's code

It is also a good practice to always begin header files with this line.

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They both include 'Song.h' file and preprocessor takes the file content twice. You need to write 'LyricsSong.h' and 'InstrumentalSong.h' file contents inside #ifndef #define and #endif directives. Like this


your code goes here.


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As already answered, I would also use #pragma once, it is more convenient and clean. But be aware that it is not a C++ standard, so it can be a problem if you have to use different compilers (although it is a wide-spread extension).

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  • You are missing include guards: stackoverflow.com/questions/1653958/…
  • my problem is too many definitions, not missing ones, and i don't know how to use them in this kind of case.
  • I wasn't talking about missing definitons, but missing include guards. Did you even read the link?
  • #pragma once is not standard, and it can not work in some situations. It was explicitly not standardized because of those (not portably solvable) problems. See here for some issues.
  • But it actually solved my problem. I spent around an hour searching for a solution and this^ solved it. But why does it have that one drawback?
  • In most compilers you can use more efficent #pragma once also
  • @DawidPi I don't like to use tools/features which is non-standard and don't suggest anyone to do so.
  • Most importantly, he needs to put an include guard into Song.h. Putting it into LyricsSong.h and InstrumentalSong.h is good practice, but not enough.
  • I uderstand this in fact, I also prefer standard solutions but #pragma once is available in every modern compiler. msvs,gcc,clang or whatever. And if you have lot's of files it can reduce compile time significantly
  • At least for gcc #pragma once is probably no more efficient than the standard include guards, see here. Other compilers probably have similar optimizations.