In recent times Pakistani musician Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan was greatly instrumental in popularizing Qawwali in many parts of the world. He managed to produce an altogether effect by mixing traditional Sufi music with western traditional music and thus creating Qawwali masterpieces.
Normally instruments which are used in Qawwali are different from each other. The main instruments used are tabla, harmonium, saringda, santur, dholak, kartal, bulbul tarang, sarangi, and rabab. Another trademark musical effect used in Qawwali is clapping of hands in a rhythmic movement. Qawwali has very little similarity with classical music like meend gamaks, taans and few other enhancement factors which are essential part of Hindustani classical music. It is also similar to classical music in its structure. Like using alap initially without any musical effect then slow rising tempo and finally increasing pace in the middle and towards the end. Raags normally used in qawwalis are; Khammaj, Kalyan, Bilawal and Kafi etc. but most fascinating rags associated with qawwalis are rags of Persia. Qawwali uses numerous tals. Common among them are fast kaherava of four to eight beats and breezy dadra tal of 6 beats.
Qawwali performance generally continues non-stop in a group setting with one main qawwal and several supporting qawwals. Audiences are also encouraged to participate in qawwalis. No wonder, this ancient version of Islamic devotional song has never lost its sheen and kept on mesmerizing people all over the world.