Gospel Music Around World

Submitted by: Ryan Pauline

Gospel music basically has its origins in the African American slaves who brought their African musical traditions to America and fused these traditions with the old Christian hymns. Several of these techniques, including the blue note and syncopation make gospel music around world distinct from other kinds of music around today. Gospel songs that arose from the African American fusion of Christian hymns and African musical tradition began to achieve more exposure in the 1920s with the emergence of churches known as Sanctified or Holiness churches. Traveling preachers brought these kinds of music along with them wherever they went. Among the most popular was Thomas Dorsey who was most responsible for popularizing gospel music in the 30s.

These days, gospel music around world is still reaching out and the spreading to Christian denominations. The original gospel music developed by African Americans has evolved as they have been spread to other parts of the world.

There are many types of gospel music around world that arose from the original gospel genre. These are urban contemporary gospel, gospel blues, southerner gospel, progressive southern gospel, Christian country music, bluegrass, and Celtic.

Urban Contemporary gospel is the subgenre of gospel music that is most identified with the black heritage of gospel music and is still marketed today as black gospel. Blues is a form of gospel singing with a blues influence and a lot of guitar, while southern gospel is characterized by the all male quartet and with songs that talk about the hardships in life and how God helps people overcome these hardships. Progressive Southern gospel music is an offshoot of Southern gospel.

Christian Country music is the subgenre of gospel music that does not have its origins in the African American culture but is a major component of gospel music nonetheless. Christian country music has developed into a more mainstream and contemporary form of musical worship, although it has come under criticism for being too liberal and too main stream and losing the religious messages that gospel music was intended to spread. Bluegrass gospel is county Christian music more prevalent in the mountains of America. Celtic music is the kind of gospel music that thrives in such countries as Ireland. A popular proponent of Celtic gospel music is the Dublin Gospel choir.

Blurring the Lines Between Gospel and Contemporary Music

In most countries, there remains a distinction between church and religious music. With the popularity of Christian contemporary music, more and more artists are dabbling between the two, embracing both religious and secular forms of music. There are some subgenres of gospel music around world, however, that have remained steadfast in the overt quality of their worship in their music, very much unlike contemporary Christian music, which more often than not contained double entendres in its lyrics, which means that the song can be applied to both religious and secular contexts. Southern gospel songs in particular have remained overt in the Christian messages of its lyrics despite the infusion of bluegrass and jazz influences.

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