How do you arrange and structure a Drum and Bass track?


I'm currently doing a remix.

One thing I always struggle with in Drum and Bass, is the arrangement and structure of the track, especially when doing a remix.

All I have at the moment is the vocal.
It's at 125 BPM, and the remix will be at 173 BPM.
Obviously with this jump, it'd be impossible to time stretch, so what I've done is chop the vocal up into silables (Took bloody ages!), and with some cross fading, rearranged it so that it now fits the 173 BPM tempo.
This worked surprisingly well, and after allot of tweaking, you can't tell that it's been chopped up, which is great.

The problem now though, is where to put everything.
I've always had a musical ear, and have done very little learning as far as music theory.
This has been OK for the most part, but it's times like this where I wish I had done music theory (I'm certainly going to attempt to learn now)

The prospect of turning this 125 BPM track into a 173 DnB one, is something I can't really get my head round...
Just using the structure of the original song wouldn't work, because now that the vocal is at 173, the song would be over in about a minuet.

I need filler, basically, and it's proving quite difficult to discern what is too long an intro or build up, and what's too short.
While I'm trying to arrange it there are these periods where nothing interesting is happening.
I don't know how long each section should last, or what I should do with the vocal during that time.

If anyone can give any tips, I'd be very grateful.


- LG

P.S - Unfortunately I won't be able to upload an audio clip of what I'm trying to do.
Until tomorrow I've got incredibly slow internet speeds, and just trying to upload a photo to facebook a few hours ago was an impossibility.


Active Member
VIP Junglist
A tip which I use when I use vocals: if you delete the vocals, the track should still be interesting, and should be as good as without the vocals.
Work the vocals around the track, not the other way around.

So on your track: just have parts that don't have vocal?... Why should the whole track have a vocal on top of it? I'd hate it if I listened to a track like that
You have a few choices... actually a lot (btw, this is based on a 'normal' dnb structure, if you want something special, just do some stuff, get creative, go nuts)
- put the vocal in the intro, drop without vocal for the first 32 bars or something, then enter the vocal again.
- some little vocal stuff in the intro (or no vocal in the intro) and vocal in the drop
- enter vocal in the intro, first part of the drop (16 bars, 32 bars) then no vocals

just get some variation in there... experiment..


VIP Junglist
There are no hard and fast rules about how to use vocals in a track though.

You could use the vocals from the original sparingly or use the whole thing. Why don't you check out a few DnB remixes of tunes that aren't at DnB tempo to get an idea?

Last edited by a moderator:
what I usually do is grab a few tracks that I like the structure of, then drag the tracks into my DAW and chop them up into their different sections, then I can see what exactly is going on and where, then I have a rough idea about what arrangement to use. hope this helps.

Dark Lizardro

The Lizard that has a hammer
Tribal Leader
VIP Junglist
as said before, chop the vocals into parts, and use them sparingly in the dnb track. You don't need to use the vocals in it's fullness. For example: use the verse two times, a properly verse and a pre-chorus, with different instrument variations to them, make the drop hit hard and use the chorus part of the vocals.


Wow, thanks for all the in-depth responses, that's fantastic.

Interesting tips on not using all of the vocal. I just had this problem where I thoguht I needed to fill everything in so it didn't get boring, turns out that isn't necessary.

Thanks again!


Well-Known Member
you don't need to make a 125 vocal fit 173. At 125 it's already around 2/3rds the speed you want which means you can broadly chop it up into the main phrases as it is and achieve some much more interesting syncopation while retaining the natural flow of the vocal.
Speeding it up will more than likely sound rigid and unnatural.