Niraval is a form of virtuosic musicolinguistic improvisation in Carnatic music whereby a line within a song is repeated in various melodic and rhythmic manifestations within the rāgam (melodic framework) and tāl am (beat cycle). For a Carnatic singer, niraval makes different aesthetic demands than other forms of non-textual improvisation within the tradition. To convey artful, sincere renditions of the same lyrical text, the singer-musician must imaginatively devise interesting repetitions which attend to both melodic and rhythmic elements and the lyric text. Combining melodic and rhythmic skill and verbal artistry in a range of South Indian languages as well as Sanskrit, Carnatic singers display extraordinary communicative and artistic competence and captivate their audiences. This paper analyses the musical and linguistic elements of a single niraval performance in Sydney’s Carnatic music community. It is hoped that such research will contribute to a greater understanding of the interplay of language and music in sung performance.