In Urdu, ‘Khayal’ means creative thought. Hence, less rigid than dhrupad-singing. It is the most popular classical type of Hindustani vocal music. Sometimes, instrumentalists play in Khayal styles. There is no time-measure.
Thought, idea, conception, imagination, lyric. Historically said to be a mixture of kawali and dhrupad styles. Compositions of khayal are now the most common form of presentation of classical Hindustani music covering aspects such as love, separation, the seasons and praise of various gods and goddesses. A performance normally consists of bada or main khayal sung in slow speed followed by chota or short khayal sung in faster tempo. Khayal has two sections called stai and antara and the presentation of these parts depends on the gharana or style of the artist.