Khayal, one of the distinguished Performing Arts of Uttar Pradesh, is a semi-classical kind of singing that owes its origin to the royal courts of Awadh. People from far away places come to listen the melodious varieties of Khayal.
In Urdu, Khayal stands for imagination. Khayal got this name as it is based on a lover's thoughts about his/her beloved. This genre is unlike the other folk genres of Uttar Pradesh like Kajari, Birha and Chaiti because of its delicately ornamented phrases that derive more importance as compared to the original text of the lyrics. Amir Khusrau, a noted Sufi poet who is often called the father of Ghazal, developed the genre of Khayal in the thirteenth century.
Like some other Indian classical music genres, Uttar Pradesh Khayal is modal with a single melodic line. This line may either have very little or absolutely no harmonic parts. The modes are named Raga. Each Raga is a complex framework of melodic rules. Khayal in Uttar Pradesh is primarily based on a collection of short songs that generally varies between 2 to 16 lines based on the theme and mood.