Jump to content
psybient.org community members forum - share good vibes and enjoy

Basic Arrangement/Structure in Psybient, Downtempo, Ambient

Recommended Posts

So here is a question which I hope will get a lot of conversation going.


What is the basic arrangement when producing a psybient, downtempo track?


Is it similar to the often used 16 bar structure found in techno and house? Where every 16 bars you add something new or change something?


Do you producers have in mind a dj's needs when arranging your tracks?





Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

atmos / fx


introducee rythmic synth element (core tonal part)

build more rythmic elements

layer synths / fx on this

add bass



main drum beat with main bass and core tonal element

build more stuff on top - 2 or 3 x 8 or 16 bar sections of melodies/synth/smaple parts


break the track down - perhaps remove bass - take drums back to their skeletal parts


reintroduce main beat with a different section (contrast is required to maintain interest)- more upbeat or more downbeat - change the key tonal element which may have been running so far in the track - differemt bass line / main synth part / change key?  any of the above or all of them

again develop 2 or three sections in this style

move back via transitions to the very first main part of the track to provide resolution

build this to crescendo with multiple parts colliding into one psychedlic kaleidoscope - peak...


build down

remove bass / rynthmic parts one by one naturally until you are left with


one sole rythmic element and / or pads / atmos

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

you have to listen with fresh ears and work out where the track is dragging or indeed whether the sections are changing too quickly


fresh ears, a piece of paper (let the track play through), a sensible volume and a willingness to be honest with yourself.


in terms of fine tuning the arrangement (when you've already heard it a thousand times) i try to bring my sub conscious into it....staring out into the garden while smoking a roll up / using the internet whilst listening back and just noting what the back of your brain is telling you

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

in terms of section lengths, they should be as long as they need to be but 16 bars is a reasonable figure for an idea to come in, do it's thing and play out again.


it;s a question i think of trusting your musical intuition.  


what i would say though if you have a long section in a track make sure that the primary riff has some movement and interest to it.  if you build in movement and variety into a synth riff then it can play for much longer in the track and this affects how you make your overarching sections in the track.  to help with this you can play in longer sections of the synth riff (instead of looping shorter sections) as you will naturally add variety when playing in the synth riff on a keyboard, even mistakes can be edited into interesting patterns.



getting that primary synth / sample riff right is the key (for me).  spending just that little bit extra at the start getting a really nice sound can feed into the arrangement building stage and make it easier.  if you are looping a very short part with no filter or note or glitchy variety then the music will become static very quickly.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

It seems whatever I do things tend to follow vaguely the same format





Second drop



I try to change/add things every 8 bars, or have sounds that cycle through but are slightly different each time

For psychedelic music I try to have at least two or three different moods or grooves, I like songs to progress, to be akin to a journey, rather than just a 1 groove that builds up and then fizzles away, its something i noticed in producers like Shpongle... consider Around The World in a Tea Daze... it has several different sections and builds up in energy as it goes, it makes for an epic track.


I dont consider djs at all in my production, i dont mix my music when i play it live, and find standard 'beat ins' you get with dance music rather boring if you are listening to single tracks or albums.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Create New...