Simple Tips in Techno Structure

Hi All!

Working on Techno songs and struggling in keeping attention, building a song and maintaining structure. Plenty of stuff to find but I’d like to hear from you guys inc. with Elektron devices.

Tangible Tips and Tricks to get from a 4 to the floor to a song basically.


Find your fave track
Copy it

4 bars intro of basic drums
8 bars with added high hats
8 bars with wobble wobbly bassline
Strip it back
Add chords
Put everything together for 16 bars with a noise that builds throughout
Back to bassline and movie sample
Repeat bits for another 2 minutes reduce it down ( this would be when a new track is mixed in at club )

Something like that.

If you are 808 state , add a 8 or 12 step weird bit to offset the track and make mixing more annoying. ( they did this on a lot of early stuff ) . Mostly sounds like the track reversing a little.

And honestly. Load a track into traktor / DJ software , setup cue and loop points and you’ll get a very good idea regarding structure …


Yeah I’m trying to recreate Ableton tutorials on Elektron; a good drill and forces creativity. thanks for the tips!

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I think with techno it’s best to just go by feel rather than try to follow a set structure. Get your patterns ready, then just hit record and go where the flow takes you.
You can always do a bit of editing afterwards if needed.
If you’re struggling, listening to a bunch of your favourite tracks before a session can really get you going.


Disclaimer: this can also result in a rambling mess (my music for example) !

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For techno, I’d probably move away from any sense of a traditional structure and just jam away. Have fun!


Yeah Im having that; and its heaps of fun. Only thing Im missing is a sense of curiosity that makes you want to keep listening

It’ll come :v:t6:

A little tip that has helped me with dance music is that idea that something should change every fifteen seconds. That might sound quick but on the other hand, 30 seconds is a long time to listen to an unchanging loop.

Some people also find it useful to build “the main loop” first, the main idea, the climax then work backwards from it–how do I get there now that I’ve built it? Then you can reverse beginning to end the track.

Remember call and response–sounds shouldn’t just be happening randomly. There needs to be a rhythmic or harmonic relationship between the elements in the track.



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I don’t always follow it but I do find bringing in taking out 2-4 things at once can build much more powerful movements in your songs. I think it really depends though, like I have been getting more into hypnotic techno lately which can get destroyed by too much change at once. More about adding interest to more repetitive patterns and finding repetitive patterns that don’t grow tiring quickly.


I struggle with form (or making decisions about form) a lot, so take this all with a pinch of salt…

Different moods “suggest” or “need” different forms. You could say different “sub genres” but I prefer “moods”. The mood suggests the form and the method of getting from one part of the form to another.

Hypnotic, trance-inducing techno, needs builds, slow changes, small variations. You can introduce big changes but you usually need to telegraph or foreshadow them with a long breakdown, or a slow build-up, or both.

“Ravey” moods benefit from bigger, more sudden changes, and for short variations around a common core.

“Driving”, forceful techno keeps the energy fairly constant but introduces new colours quite often, with occasional drops and builds to let your dancers catch a breath.

IDM’s more flexible, and tends to consciously avoid most the previous forms.

Minimal techno uses the elements from above to tell stories. Tech-house keeps the energy levels fairly controlled and consistent, with efficient breakdowns and softer drops.

Break your work down into:

  • strategies: the overall shape of the track (length, mood, the main ideas)

  • tactics: how you get from one section to another: big changes or small, breakdowns or bringing in/swapping elements

By all means just jam and record it. Going with “the vibe” will let you ride all the previous ideas intuitively. However, giving your music or that of others, a bit of thought about what it’s doing and how, whilst you’re not jamming, will help you in later jams.


just to add a few tracks ive listened to recently, by top artists, have been basically 1 repeating pattern with a subtle eq/volume fader action.

incredibly dull imo but still something they felt good enough to release… and get onto vinyl.
some genres / tracks dont have a ‘structure’ .but i guess the sound/feel of the track in a club makes it sound really good, and a nice track to easily transition through… they were very rumbly repetitive stompy techno tracks… perhaps the term ‘driving’ techno from above would be similar.


Can you post some example tracks?
Stuff like this (set from today):

I liked this jam here and his making off:


For techno, I basically put a 1 or 2 bar loop together with as few drum sounds as I can get away with (usually kick, clap and hats) then make as much fuss as possible over the top of it with one or two synths.

I really wouldn’t want to waste my time worrying about structure and composition too much. More important for techno, I think, is the quality of the sounds you’re making. There’s nothing wrong with repetition if you’re repeating something banging.


Well, there’s the format for my next tune. #hi5




I paste this, although its in german, björn has some valuable tips. Its aimed at abelton live, but could be any pattern based tracks.

This guy has also some valuable tipps: (English Video)

Its helpful to think: add one element - remove 2 after 16 bars. Create some transition fx , and put them before each 16 bar point. Another way to transition between one section is actually increasing the actual drums or melodic content modulation, and then back it off, when the transition happens, or resample the drum /melodic content, and use it as effect.


Can I get an arrangement credit ?