The History Of Gospel Music

The history of gospel music from past to present.

The modern day gospel music experience is less than 50 years old. Gospel music is the music of African Americans and is ever changing. From the start it was always met with challenges and today is no different. Many older members of churches think that the music is too wordly. Yonger members of the church think that older members of the church just don't understand them. But no matter what, Gospel music is here to stay.

During the periods of 1900-1930's gospel music can be attributed to the social changes that were taking place in the country. Many blacks from the south were starting to move from the south to other areas of the US and bringing with them their form of Gospel music. Gospel music was a form of expression for these people. Gospel music was and still is a thirst for music African Americans can call their own.

The second stage for Gospel music came during the 30's, which is called the Dorsey Era. Thomas Dorsey is referred to as the Father of Contemporary Gospel. His songs combined shouts of praise and emotional fervor with a contemporary style that was very much unwelcomed in some churches throughout the US.



Then came the 40's, when gospel music started to change. During this period of time Gospel ensembles and quartets were organized. These groups began to travel throughout the US. By having the groups travel throughout the US it helped to create a demand for this type of music. Shortly after WW2 blacks started to purchase Gospel records in record breaking numbers. The Rev. Herb Brewater of Memphis established himself as the foremost Gospel songwriter of this era.

Gospel quartets had mass public appeal. The members of these groups were casually attired and presented a more flamboyant image.

The 50's brought more changes in Gospel music. The ensembles were accompanied by a piano or organ. Some of the groups of this era were the Clara Ward Singers of Philadephia, The Staple Singers of Chicago and Albertina Walker of Atlanta. Albertina Walker formed a group called the Caravan that featured James Cleveland, who became a famed composer, conductor and soloist.

Gospel remained very unchanged during the 60's, 70's and early 80's. Then it seemed like gospel music went hip hop. Many rap artists had turned their lives around and found God. The rap group RUN DMC is a good example. After rapping for many years the group turned to rapping about God. During the 90's Kirk Franklin hit the airwaves with Gospel music that was loud and close to wordly.

But all through its history Gospel music is something that African Americans can claim as their own. Gospel music shares its roots in other African American music styles like blues, jazz, and its cousin rock and roll.

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