Gospel Music

Essay by jamie_allenCollege, UndergraduateA+, May 2012

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Gospel music is music that is written to give praise, worship, and give thanks to God, as well as to express either personal, spiritual or a communal belief regarding Christian life. Gospel is a kind of Christian music based on American folk music, marked by strong rhythms and elaborated refrains, and incorporating elements of spirituals, blues, and jazz. There are several subgenres of gospel. One is urban contemporary gospel (sometimes still marketed as "Black gospel" to help distinguish it from other forms of Christian music). Another is Gospel blues, which is a blues-based form of gospel music (a combination of blues guitar and evangelistic lyrics). Another is Southern gospel; this is sometimes called "quartet music" by fans due to the original all male, tenor-lead-baritone-bass quartet make-up. Progressive Southern gospel, which is an American music genre that has grown out of Southern gospel over the past couple of decades, is another subgenre.

Another is Christian country music, sometimes referred to as country gospel music, this is a subgenre of gospel music with a country flair, is also known as inspirational country.

Many say that gospel music sprung from African-American Southern gospel choirs and spirituals in the early part of the 20th century. It spread through song publishing, concerts, recordings, and radio and TV broadcasts of religious services from the Great Depression days. Gospel music traces all the way back to the 18th

century. Its oral tradition uses a lot of repetition, coming from a time when many blacks were unable to read. The heavily repeated, call-and-response style was influenced by the 17th century spirituals and work songs used by enslaved Africans.

Gospel music has a history which can be traced to the 18th century. During this time, hymns were lined and repeated in a call and response fashion and...