Rahman's technique of increasing the pace of a song

I noticed in a few Rahman songs, a technique of increasing the pace of a song in each interlude. By pace, I don't mean the tempo as such. You will notice that the song picks up momentum as each interlude passes by. This is observed mostly in songs with 3 interludes. Probably ARR uses this technique to keep the listener interested in the song, esp since it is a lengthy song.

Here are some of the songs that employ the above technique.

1. Yeh Tara Woh Tara from Swades:

2. Sarfarosh Ki Tamanna from The Legend of Bhagat Singh:

3. Yeh Jo Des Hai Tera from Swades:

In all the above songs, the song keeps gaining momentum in each interlude. For eg. the song would start with a slow pace and will continue like that for the 1st interlude and charanam. Then in each subsequent interlude a new rhythm (tabla, etc) or guitar backing will be added and that would seem to increase the pace. And from the 3rd interlude it really picks up pace and goes on like that till the end. Keeping the listener interested is one theory. Another valid reason could be to heighten the emotion.

On similar lines, a recent song that I like a lot is Kun Faya Kun from Rockstar. I love the way it picks up momentum in the interlude from 2:45 to 3:22. The guitar, the clap, the tabla, the chorus, all of them adds to the impact. It is interesting how a simple clap has such an effect on the pace of the song. Then at 4:58 the pace of the song comes down during the lines "Ho mujh pe karam sarkar tera" and then from 5:55, it returns to the original form. Though the pace doesn't keep increasing as in the above songs, there are contrasting portions which is why I included this song here. 

Kun Faya Kun from Rockstar:

A few more songs that were considered but did not make it to the list as I felt it didn't fit in 100% in the technique discussed here:

Zindagi Zindagi from Yuvraaj

Sakiye Nee Than Thunaye from Andhimandhaarai

Shauk Hai from Guru

There could be more songs. I don't exactly recollect. Leave a comment if you notice similar songs.


  1. That is true. That is a trick Rahman uses to keep the listeners hooked and interested in the song throughout. He mostly avoids to keep second charanam exactly like first charanam. H.Sridhar in his last interview to Ashanthi Omkar himself mentioned this, when talking about AR's working style.

  2. Yes, sometimes the charanams are different in tune/melody. I also keep hearing that he composes the song which could go on till 40 mins (like Tera Bina and Kun Faya Kun) and then chooses the best portions. So when he composes such a lengthy song, different melodies are bound to happen.

  3. I guess, he follows the story, emotions, and the forthcoming choreography etc. rather than using as a technique!

  4. Jerald, your thought could be true for the 2nd song - Sarfarosh Ki Tamanna

  5. Hari Shankar11:55 PM

    "It is interesting how a simple clap has such an effect on the pace of the song." - You are delving into the psychoacoustic aspect of music - http://www.ime.unicamp.br/~maia/MS106/Aula%202/Rhythm/Clapping%20Music_Steve%20Reich/Reich%20papers/gradual%20process%20music%202.pdf

    I believe our nature to keep looking for patterns as another reason for this. Bring in new rhythmic variations in the original basic rhythm to induce interest.

    In carnatic songs also, performers (singers/instrumentalists/percusionists) change the nadai (the rhythmic pattern) to introduce interesting patterns and thus introduce interest, even while maintaining the base tala.

  6. Thanks Hari for sharing your observation.