Christian MusicGenres

Gospel: History and Artists

The term “gospel” is derived from the English language and is translated as “good news” or “gospel”. According to the word’s etymology, it relates to Christian cultural practices. Indeed, the gospel genre developed in the American Protestant church culture. It had the most impact on American pop music in the 20th and 21st centuries, but it is also important on its own.

The gospel started to form in the African-American cultural context of late nineteenth-century America. Christian songs were referred to as gospel hymns. This hymn’s melody was a synthesis of numerous popular cultures. Charles Tindley, a Methodist pastor who lived from 1859 to 1933 and wrote the words and tunes for hymns, is seen as the genre’s creator.

Numerous American films depict worship sessions in which the choir (often formed of black singers) sings with great vigor and passion, clapping their hands and dancing. This is a standard gospel choir. The words of these choral anthems are very uplifting and optimistic. They discuss how to get help from love from above, as well as how to keep going and not give up.

You might argue that the great Whitney Houston was raised in a gospel choir. The singer’s mother was the director of such a chorus, and it was there that she started her daughter’s vocal training. Whitney Houston stayed committed to gospel music until the end of her life, and she performed many gospel songs with a lot of energy.

Gospel music has a very open beat, a lot of rich melismatics, creative improvisations, lines that come out of nowhere, and polyphony that is sometimes very complicated.

This genre is where soul, blues, and rhythm and blues got their start. If you listen to a few gospel compositions and identify their features, you will hear echoes of this genre in almost all modern American music. Since 2015, there has also been a Grammy nomination for Best Gospel Performance every year, which shows that the gospel genre is not giving up.

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