Tarana is a type of composition in Hindustani classical vocal music in which certain words (e.g. "odani", "todani", "tadeem" and "yalali") based on Persian and Arabic phonemes are rendered at a medium (madhya laya) or fast (drut laya) rate. It was invented by Amir Khusro (1253-1325 CE)[1].[further explanation needed] In modern times, the singer Amir Khan helped popularize it and researched its origins and the syllables used. Nissar Hussain Khan was a tarana singer. Tarana was also used by Sikh tenth Guru Gobind Singh in his compositions.[citation needed]


A second, contrasting melody, usually with higher notes, is introduced once before returning to the main melody.[citation needed] The tarana may include a Persian quatrain, and may use syllables from sitar or tabla such as "dar-dar" or "dir-dir"; singers might recite full compositions (e.g. tihais, gats, tukdas)[further explanation needed] within the body of the tarana.


Thakur Jaidev Singh, a commentator on Indian music, said:

[Tarana] was entirely an invention of Khusrau... True, Khusrau had before him the example of Nirgit songs using śuṣk-akṣaras (meaningless words) and pāṭ-akṣaras (mnemonic syllables of the mridang)... But generally speaking, the Nirgit used hard consonants. Khusrau... introduced mostly Persian words with soft consonants. Secondly, he so arranged these words that they bore some sense.[2]


  1. ^ Massey, Reginald (2004). India's Dances. Abhinav Publications. p. 13. ISBN 81-7017-434-1.
  2. ^ Singh, Thakur Jai Deva (1975). "Khusrau's Musical Compositions". In Ansari, Zoe (ed.). Life, Times & Works of Amir Khusrau Dehlavi. New Delhi: National Amir Khusrau Society. p. 276.

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