Would you like to get familiar with Gospel music? In this guide, you will find a lot of information about Gospel music. First of all, we will provide you with the overall information about the musical genre. Here, we will also tell you about the history of Gospel music and famous Gospel artists.
Gospel music is a genre that consists of numerous sub-genres. It includes both the original Negro spirituals and the contemporary Christian songs. The genre mainly deals with religious themes. So, it is focused on African-American traditional spirituals and Caucasian religious hymnals. But Gospel music mainly reflects the traditions of the African-American church.
The history of Gospel music dates back to the late 1800’s. Initially, the music was used in the worship services of African-American churches. Gospel music was sung mostly at church, where the songs were sung in a choir. So, a choir became the tradition of the gospel music. Choir members were a group of volunteer singers. They wore choir stoles and were easily distinguished from other people. The music that was sung by the gospel choir corresponded to the “call and response” format of traditional hymns and sacred songs.
However, Gospel music changed significantly at the end of 1930’s. Thomas A. Dorsey (who was a former jazz pianist and composer) made his own contribution to Gospel music. He added blues and jazz to the traditional style of the gospel music. The new style of the gospel music was rejected at first, but it was accepted later. As a result, the new form of traditional gospel has appeared. It is known as “gospel blues.” The new style of Gospel music continued to evolve until the end of 1930’s.
As it is known, the music has always played a very important role in Christian worship. When the first Christian churches were founded, music became an internal part of worship. Hymns for congregational singing were composed during the times of the Protestant movement. Composers used different types of music for creating new hymns. Such hymns were also used when Europeans started colonizing America. Gospel music has helped the ideals of Christianity to spread in different countries all over the world.
Gospel music was sung by black and white performers. A lot of white performers achieved great results and became popular in the Southern gospel music genre. However, it was more difficult for black gospel music performers to gain popularity. That’s why they often tried to succeed in other musical genres such as blues, boogie-woogie and jazz.
Black performers managed to achieve success in gospel music only in the 1950’s. So, their music became popular among national audience. Such famous black performers as Little Richard and Ray Charles have managed to incorporate their music styles into the gospel genre.
It is impossible to imagine Gospel music without Elvis Presley. Elvis liked gospel music that was sung by black performers and he often listened to this music when he was a child. It took a lot of time before Elvis managed to become a famous person in the music world. However, all his efforts have been crowned with success in the end. The performance of such well known singers as Aretha Franklin and Ray Charles has also made gospel music more popular.
Gospel music also changed significantly in 1970’s. As a result, the new style of gospel music has appeared. A lot of alternative churches and youth-oriented worship centers were established during this period of time. Moreover, black performers brought new style to gospel music. So, the new style of gospel music united grittier urban sounds and a strong R&B influence. There are four main styles of gospel music available today – contemporary gospel, traditional gospel, quartet style, praise and worship.