An innovative generalized Layer-Wise (LW) approach is proposed for the modal analysis of anisotropic doubly-curved shells with an arbitrary shape by employing the Generalized Differential Quadrature (GDQ) method. The geometrical description of shell structures can be traced from both the differential geometry and mapping technique based on a proper definition of the blending functions.
The kinematic field is described in each lamina by employing several interpolating polynomials in a generalized setting, while developing a LW theory that involves different orders of kinematic expansion. The Equivalent Single Layer (ESL) generalized formulation is, thus, derived as particular case of the LW theory. Angle-ply generally anisotropic laminated shells are here investigated, as well as layups with a thick foam softcore. Several numerical examples are illustrated, including different boundary conditions of the mapped geometry, different geometric curvatures for both unmapped and mapped paths, along with a variety of interpolating polynomials and expansion orders of the kinematic field. The accuracy of the proposed model is well-established by a comparative evaluation between our solutions in terms of frequencies and mode shapes and predictions based on classical 3D finite elements.