Gospel Music - A Look Into Its Origin, Roots, HistoryWhen you think of gospel music, chances are churches and large church...
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Gospel Music - A Look Into Its Origin, Roots, History

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When you think of gospel music, chances are churches and large church choirs doing rousing performances were the first things that came to your mind. But would you believe that...

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Gospel Music - A Look Into Its Origin, Roots, History

  1. 1. Gospel Music - A Look Into Its Origin, Roots, HistoryWhen you think of gospel music, chances are churches and large church choirs doing rousing performanceswere the first things that came to your mind. But would you believe that there was a time when suchperformances would hardly be associated with the church?Not too many people know that gospel music origin didn’t just usher the creation of a new music genre, it alsogave birth to the present-day African-American culture.Gospel music roots goes back to Africa but most of the sound was developed on American soil, particularly inthe southern area, during the 18th century at the height of the slavery era. Tribal African music dealt exclusivelywith the sacred and was used by tribesmen as a means to be in harmony with nature.When the American slavers brought Africans to American soil, a ban prohibiting their native music and the useof traditional African instruments was imposed on them. This was done in order to further subjugate them andprevent them from communicating with one another.The enslaved Africans then turned to creating a new kind of music by using Christian subjects instead and fusedtheir traditional African music styles with the Western style of harmony and musical instruments, thus beganthe modern day gospel music.The origin of gospel music first started to grow in the South where slavery flourished during the 1600s. To keepthe enslaved Africans in check, the Africans were also compelled to attend their masters’ worship services,which further reinforced the slavery doctrine.The church and religion became the slaves’ sanctuary and acted as their guiding force in times of greatadversity, even more so after their eventual emancipation. It wasn’t long before their own brand of African-American culture and music started to thrive within the safe confines of the churches.The converted slaves started to adapt the normally somber and sedated Methodist hymns, infusing it with theirown native music. In a fact, a lot of the well-known present-day gospel song patterns, such as the popular calland response style and the use of complex percussion rhythms, are also key features of tribal African music.Gospel music started to spread towards the North American territories during the late 1800s when slaves wereallowed to publicly perform in large musical ensembles. The new breed of music was embraced by the all-whitepublic, their interest obviously piqued by the new sound. Pretty soon the influence of gospel music started totrickle down not only to traditional religious music but also to popular American music.Some of the most popular personalities in recent music history such as Elvis Presley, Sam Cooke, MahaliaJackson, Aretha Franklin, and Jerry Lee Lewis among others have cited their own gospel music roots back attheir own churches as having a significant influence on them.Of the aforementioned names, only Mahalia Jackson—the undisputed first Queen of Gospel Music—has thedistinction of maintaining a steady career in gospel music. The others had also found crossover success insecular music, despite not completely severing their gospel music roots throughout their music career. Written by Gary HarbinGospel Music - A Look Into Its Origin, Roots, History www.garyharbin.com

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