The structure of the is based on the dramatic development of the plot of the narrative source within a set of coded elements:

1. The stage consists of a simple set. At the back there is a screen or curtain in which, looking towards the audience, are the entrance door (or literally "exit" from the stage) of the Christians on the right and that of the Turks on the left. The latter is surmounted by a doll representing the devil, which moves when the Turks or Satans enter or perform. Sometimes, as the didascalia in some manuscripts , there was a third door in the centre, used by the characters representing the divine world, mainly the angels, which seems to have become necessary in the modern pastoral. Above this partition is the musicians' seat. Some manuscripts testify to the existence of two theatres, one large and one small or accessory, where certain secondary parts of the play were performed. This fact reinforces the theory of the gradual simplification of the stage, based on the form of performance of the medieval Mysteries.

2. Instrumental music was limited to the psaltery or tambourine, the atabal and the suletina or xirula flute. Later, other wind instruments were introduced. Their basic function was to mark moments of transition in the action, thus maintaining the continuity of the , to accompany the dance of the satans and to be inserted into the choruses. They were generally religious hymns, although related lyrics can sometimes be found in certain manuscripts. Prologues and epilogues alternate with stanzas sung by the "prologeur" or the "pheredikari".

3. The text, a long succession of quatrains with no fixed metre and irregular rhymes, is recited in a psalmodic tone with two distinct melodies: that used by most of the characters and that corresponding to the prologues, epilogues and choir of angels. The first is simple and seems to have been used simply for mnemonic purposes. The second, with more tonal variations, dates back to the fifteenth century according to Henri Gavel. Georges Hérelle, for his part, compares pastoral recitative to the versification of medieval liturgical drama, where he locates its most likely origin. Manuel Lekuona's view that we are dealing with a synthesis of music, dance and poetry (the three "dynamic" fine arts) is also important. Indeed, the verses are sung by the characters within a codified of movements that differentiate them: low and solemn for the Christians, fast and varied for the Turks. The link he establishes with the function of the chorus in Sophocles' tragedies is, however, unlikely.

4. The characters, although directly dependent on the source chosen, are also codified. Traditionally they were played by men, but we have evidence of several pastorals performed solely by women since the late nineteenth century, and in modern performances they act together. In general, it can be said that they do not represent individual characters with a definite psychology or behaviour. They are stereotyped as far as possible according to the role they have to play in the representation, depending on whether they are on the side of the Christians or the Turks. Hieraticism and a total absence of emotional expression are their most notable common features. Those who belong to the Numenic world are the angels, usually children, the Satans (whose function is to amuse the spectator, either by dancing or by taking part in little interludes attached to the action with grotesque language, always under the orders of their leader Satan or Lucifer) and God himself, who sometimes speaks behind the curtain and does not appear incarnate in any character. Christians traditionally represent the positive characters in the adapted play.

The "sujet" or main character, who gives the work its name, stands out among them. This is a king, a saint, a legendary hero, a biblical or historical character. He is the one who recites most of the text and his life is the thematic axis of the performance, always accompanied by his s, friends or subordinates. The three strata of traditional society are grouped into these: warriors, peasants and ecclesiastics. Normally, although this is not the case in the adapted text, the whole life of the main character is represented, from his birth to his death, insisting on the most exemplary deeds. The Turks are, if possible, even more stereotyped than the Christians. They are a caricature of evil, which is ultimately the exemplary ridicule of pride. With a more voluble and somewhat less hieratic attitude than their opponents, they appear to us, sometimes accompanied by Satan and his henchmen, proud and boastful. In short, they are a degraded and parodic version of the Christian side and represent, depending on the themes chosen, the infidels, pagans, English, Spaniards, etc. Other complementary characters appear in some manuscripts: the giant and the utioner, on the Turkish side, and the beggars, on the Christian side.

In modern pastorals, we can see on the stage the "triate andere" or "zerbitzariak", women in charge of placing and removing the meagre accessories used, and around the stage, the stage guards, "gardak", armed men who, as well as demanding silence and respect from the audience, fire their shotguns in the battles. The costumes, in which the headdresses of the main actors stand out, are traditional and in some cases fully codified, as is the case with the satans. However, given the scarcity of data we have (the few didascalias in the librettos do not tell us about it), we can only say that the aim was to imitate, as far as possible, that corresponding to the period of the chosen theme, with the fashion of nineteenth-century military parades predominating, especially in the secondary characters. We do know, however, that masks were used in 18th century performances, a fact we owe to Peillen (who discovered it when studying the work of the Swiss thinker Jusef Egiategi) and which once again demonstrates the changes that had taken place in the genre.

5. The dramatic action is directed by the "errejent" or "pastoralier". He is, in the traditional pastoral, the author of the manuscript notebook or libretto as well as what today we would call the stage director. The first step was to find the actors, from eighteen to thirty or so. Then came the adaptation of the original text, i.e. reading the book and choosing the parts that were suitable or worthy, in his opinion, to be performed. In this way he would generally compose a thousand and two thousand stanzas, the recitation of which would take seven or eight hours. At the end he would compose the prologue and epilogue, and rehearsals would begin. There is no division into scenes or acts in the traditional performance, nor are the three units of time, place and action maintained.

Therefore, it is not possible to use the rules of classical theatre when studying the pastoral. The prologue, which amounted to eighty or a hundred stanzas, consisted of a greeting to the audience, a presentation of the theme, a summary of the plot and an announcement of the arrival of the actors. The epilogue thanked the audience for their attention, apologised for any mistakes made, briefly quoted the plot, emphasised the moral message of the play and ended by inviting the audience to dance. The performance itself generally lasted the whole day, although, according to some manuscripts, it could sometimes last two days, in which case the necessary prologues and epilogues were added. The development of the play, depending on the source chosen, was based on a series of codified episodes, which we could list as follows: arrival of the actors, departures for the stage, battles and satanies (elements that became necessary even if not required by the plot), victories, defeats, captures, evasions, condemnations, challenges and deaths. In addition, there are other paraliturgical episodes that corroborate the moral message of the pastoral: baptisms, marriages, conversions, miracles, resurrections, etc.