The Influence of Gospel Music

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  • Topic: Gospel music, Soul music, Urban contemporary gospel
  • Pages : 6 (2319 words )
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  • Published : February 5, 2007
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Gospel music has been around for a hundred of years. Gospel music is highly emotional evangelical vocal music that originated among African American Christians in the southern United States and was a strong influence in the development of soul music. (Gospel Music) Gospel music quite evolved from the songs slaves sang on plantations notably work songs, and from the Protestant hymns they sang in church. However in the 19th century, spiritual hymns transfer into gospel music, which started the golden age of gospel music began turning in a new direction. Gospel music also influences different type music styles that people have today. People are change by the music of gospel music and find inspiration to go through life.

From the times of slavery, spiritual hymns, known as gospel music today, expresses the emotion for the African Americans. Many American slave owners did not allow Africans to use instruments nor could they play or sing in their native music. Gradually, the music of Africans has been lost with much of the words and melodies and misplaced in North America. Ever since their musical inherited link has been banned, this created a new African American style. The black slaves created gospel song that used Christian subjects with African traditions of harmony. Since slave owners did not allow sing the church became a refuge for black slave expression. It was the only place that group slaves could come together without fear of white control. Though not every one of the slaves' holders allowed religious tradition or consent to worship, the slaves had to meet secretly in churches or barn house. The Africans sing as they work in the hot sun. Work songs and "field hollers" were to ease the drudgery of hard labor in the fields. (Tanner) Since more blacks lived in the South, the birth of gospel music became endemic in the widespread first in the South before it was finally spread to the rest of white America. First gospel music spread through traveling artists shows in the late 1800s, then through floor shows and sheet music in the early 1900s, and finally through records in the early 1920s. Many of the songs and melodies were embraced by whites and began to significantly influence white religious and popular American music. Technically the field holler was the first musical style to move away from religious themes and concerned its self with work. Some historian's dispute that all early gospel songs were codified songs of protest. However, blues was the first solely secular form of American based music with the birth of ragtime and jazz following closely behind. (Tanner) In the 1910's and 1920's the sanctified movement flourished across the country as African Americans migrated to urban centers. Women, who made up the bulk of church members, assumed particularly important roles in building churches, spreading the faith, and further shaping their unique musical style. "As female missionaries embarked the streets to reach the undeveloped cities, they took their music with them, transforming it from a mode of worship into an evangelical tool that they shaped to catch and hold the attention of passersby." (Tanner) When mass communication technology became available in the form of sound recordings, some of these women entered the recording studio, seeking to turn the new technology to their evangelical ends. In the process they took a first step in moving gospel beyond the realm of the church and into the commercial arena. (Tanner) The 1930's saw the high-spirited religious movement expand from the margins of black religious communities toward the center of black life. This shift began with the efforts of Thomas Andrew Dorsey, a blues musician who turned his skills to writing upbeat, blues-influenced religious songs, which he called gospel music. Dorsey himself was inspired by Tindley's alteration of older revival songs, blues, and spirituals. Dorsey's own songs, however, made up the first wave of modern gospel music...
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