The Elements of Gospel Music

It could be said that there are many different elements of gospel music and that would be true but let’s just talk about the unique sound of contemporary gospel and worship songs. This is a kind of Christian music based on American folk music, marked by strong rhythms and elaborate choruses, and incorporating elements of spirituals, blues, and jazz.

This form of music derived from Pentecostal church worship services and from spiritual and blues singing. Pentecostal preachers’ sermons were very popular among African Americans in the early 1900s. Taking the scriptural direction “Let everything that breathes praise the Lord” (Psalm 150), Pentecostal churches were using many different kinds of instruments in their services. Choirs often featured the extremes of vocal range. Other forms of gospel music have included singing and acoustic guitar playing and harmonizing male quartets, whose acts included dancing and costumes.

A lot of American religious song exists with text that reflects aspects of the personal experience of Protestant evangelical groups both white and African-American. This music first appeared in religious revivals during the 1850s but they are more closely associated with the revival movement that arose in the late 19th century. Gospel music has a place, in the hymnals of most churches and, through missionary activity, has spread elsewhere. By the mid 20th century, it had also become it’s own category of popular song, apart from religious association, with its own publishing and recording companies, and performing artists appearing in entertainment venues.. Gospel was a significant influence on rhythm and blues and soul music, which have in turn strongly influenced contemporary gospel music.

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