Gospel music features dominant vocals often with strong use of harmony and Christian lyrics. Some modern gospel music, however, isn't explicitly Christian and just utilizes the sound.
Several forms of gospel music utilize choirs , use piano or Hammond organ, tambourines, drums, bass guitar and, increasingly, electric guitar. In comparison with hymns, which are generally of a statelier measure, the gospel song is expected to have a refrain and often a more syncopated rhythm. Several attempts have been made to describe the style of late 19th and early 20th century gospel songs in general.
Christ-Janer said "the music was tuneful and easy to grasp The device of letting the lower parts echo rhythmically a motive announced by the sopranos became a mannerism". Usually the chorus or refrain technique is found. During this time, hymns and sacred songs were lined and repeated in a call and response fashion, and Negro spirituals and work songs emerged.
Repetition and "call and response" are accepted elements in African music, designed to achieve an altered state of consciousness we sometimes refer to as "trance", and strengthen communal bonds. Most of the churches relied on hand-clapping and foot-stomping as rhythmic accompaniment.
Guitars and tambourines were sometimes available, but not frequently. Church choirs became a norm only after emancipation. Most of the singing was done a cappella. Starting out as lyrics only, it took decades for standardized tunes to be added to them. Although not directly connected with African-American gospel music, they were adopted by African-Americans as well as white Americans, and Newton's connection with the abolition movement provided cross-fertilization.
Gospel Song 19th century The first published use of the term "Gospel Song" probably appeared in when Philip Bliss released a songbook entitled Gospel Songs. A Choice Collection of Hymns and Tunes. It was used to describe a new style of church music, songs that were easy to grasp and more easily singable than the traditional church hymns , which came out of the mass revival movement starting with Dwight L.
Moody , whose musician was Ira D. Sankey , as well as the Holiness - Pentecostal movement. The original gospel songs were written and composed by authors such as George F. Root , Philip Bliss , Charles H. The popularity of revival singers and the openness of rural churches to this type of music in spite of its initial use in city revivals led to the late 19th and early 20th century establishment of gospel music publishing houses such as those of Homer Rodeheaver , E.
Excell , Charlie Tillman , and Charles Tindley. These publishers were in the market for large quantities of new music, providing an outlet for the creative work of many songwriters and composers. Holiness worship has used any type of instrumentation that congregation members might bring in, from tambourines to electric guitars. Pentecostal churches readily adopted and contributed to the gospel music publications of the early 20th century.
Late 20th-century musicians such as Elvis Presley , Jerry Lee Lewis , Mahalia Jackson , Andrae Crouch , and the Blackwood Brothers either were raised in a Pentecostal environment, or have acknowledged the influence of that tradition. Vaughan used radio as an integral part of his business model, which also included traveling quartets to publicize the gospel music books he published several times a year.
Stamps and Jesse R. Baxter studied Vaughan's business model and by the late s were running heavy competition for Vaughan. The first person to introduce the ragtime influence to gospel accompaniment as well as to play the piano on a gospel recording was Arizona Dranes. Racism divided the nation, and this division did not skip the church. If during slavery blacks were treated as inferior inside the white churches, after emancipation they formed their own separate churches.
The gospel groups which were very popular within the black community, were virtually unknown to the white community, though some in the white community began to follow them. In the s, in Chicago, Thomas A. Dorsey known for composing the song " Precious Lord, Take My Hand " , who had spent the s writing and performing secular blues music under the name " Georgia Tom ", turned to gospel music, establishing a publishing house.
Thomas gained biblical knowledge from his father, who was a Baptist minister, and was taught to play piano by his mother. He started working with blues musicians when the family moved to Atlanta. Brumley 's song, "Turn Your Radio On" which is still being published in gospel song books. He repeated it the next year with an expanded list of performing artists, and in moved to Madison Square Garden. In white gospel, there is a large Gospel Music Association and a Gospel Music Hall of Fame, which includes a few black artists, such as Mahalia Jackson, but which ignores most black artists.
Gospel music genres and subgenres[ edit ] This article is a part in a series on.