Chaiyya Chaiyya

The song begins with twinkling chimes and echoing vocals to create an atmosphere of suspense and mystery. Then, the vocalist and the twinkling fades out and a bass progression enters, eventually joined by a man’s voice. This shifts the musical tone from what seems to be stereotypically “eastern” to what sounds like a bass guitar that is more typical of western music. Additionally, a drum set and tablas are added to the musical mix. The song is very repetitive with a long chorus mostly comprised of the word “Chaiyya.” As the song continues, it builds in instrumentation and both voices sing in unison. Added into the instrumentation is an electric guitar. Everything about the song so far reflects Western music traditions and not those of India. Then, there is an instrumental section featuring what sounds like an electronic version of a stringed instrument like a sitar and drums that mimic the tabla. Even in the more Westernized sections, the vocalists continue to use microtonality. Other than that, the structure of the song is very typical, set in four four time with a central key and tonality. The return from the choruses and verses to instrumental sitar somehow brings the song from one style to another pretty quickly. The song serves its pupose for the Bollywood movie that it’s from because it is incredibly catchy. It ends with the same twinkly fade that it began with. 


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