Kirtan is the devotional singing of the praises of God in melody and rhythm. The composition is generally sung is classical raga with the appropriate tala. Though the appeal of sacred music is generally directed to one’s feelings, the element of intellect is not ignored. The meaning and the significance of the words of the songs need to be understood in all its ramifications. For Guru Tegh Bahadur, kirtan is the singing of “the glory of God with words, mind and action,”. .
The concept is common in both the Sikh and Hindu traditions, however the term ‘dhun’ is generally only used by Hindus whereas ‘kirtan’ is used by both Sikhs and Hindus. kirtan/dhun usually involves ‘call and response’ between the performer and the audience. The musical quality is consequently much simpler in order to provide for successful relay between stage and auditorium and to accommodate for the abilities of all participants.