gospel music

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gospel music,

American religious musical form that owes much of its origin to the Christian conversion of West Africans enslaved in the American South. Gospel music partly evolved from the songs slaves sang on plantations, notably work songs, and from the Protestant hymns they sang in church. However, gospel music did not derive as much from Protestant hymns as did spiritualsspiritual,
a religious folk song of American origin, particularly associated with African-American Protestants of the southern United States. The African-American spiritual, characterized by syncopation, polyrhythmic structure, and the pentatonic scale of five whole tones, is,
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. Gospel music, more emotional and jubilant, also stemmed from the call-and-response singing between preacher and congregation, which became common in black churches. Gospel lyrics often call for obedience to God and avoidance of sin in order to obtain the reward of heaven's kingdom; they also celebrate God's love. Gospel style makes use of choral singing in unison or harmony, often, but not always, led by a lead singer or singers. The songs are performed with fervent enthusiasm, vigor, and spiritual inspiration, with much ornamentation in the solo vocal lines.

In the black culture of the first half of the 20th cent., gospel music was considered antithetical to blues and jazzjazz,
the most significant form of musical expression of African-American culture and arguably the most outstanding contribution the United States has made to the art of music. Origins of Jazz

Jazz developed in the latter part of the 19th cent.
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, despite their similarity of origins, and gospel performers rarely sang in nonreligious settings. Later, as all three forms became popular outside the black community, they were less mutually exclusive. A strong gospel element underlies the "soul" jazz and rock musicrock music,
type of music originating in the United States in the mid-1950s and increasingly popular throughout much of the world. Origins of Rock

Essentially hybrid in origin, rock music includes elements of several black and white American music styles: black
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 of the 1950s and 60s. Composer and pianist Thomas A. DorseyDorsey, Thomas Andrew
, 1899–1993, American gospel musician, b. Villa Rica, Ga. He began his career as a blues pianist and songwriter. Later he became a church choir director in Chicago and was a co-founder of the National Convention of Gospel Choirs and Choruses.
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, often referred to as "the father of the gospel song," played a major role in the development of gospel music. Important gospel performers have included Mahalia JacksonJackson, Mahalia
, 1911–72, American gospel singer, b. New Orleans. She sang in church choirs during her childhood. Moving (1927) to Chicago, she worked at various menial jobs and sang in churches and at revival meetings, attracting attention for her vigorous, joyful
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, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Alex Bradford, James Cleveland, The Swan Silver Tones, The Mighty Clouds of Joy, The Dixie Hummingbirds, and The Five Blind Boys of Mississippi. Pop singers who have been heavily influenced by gospel include Aretha FranklinFranklin, Aretha,
1942–, American singer and pianist, b. Memphis. She began singing in the choir of her father's church. A singer of unique power, the "Queen of Soul" also has an enormous range, from gospel to jazz, rhythm and blues to pop.
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 and Ray CharlesCharles, Ray
(Ray Charles Robinson), 1930–2004, African-American musician and composer, b. Albany, Ga. Blinded at age seven, he was raised in Florida and at 16 began singing in a local hillbilly group. Two years later he moved to Seattle, where he formed his own trio.
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. While the greatest era in gospel is widely considered to be c.1945–1965, the tradition and the music remain vital in contemporary culture. The Gospel Music Association rewards achievements in the genre with the annual Dove Awards.


See T. Heilbut, The Gospel Sound: Good News and Bad Time (1971); L. Gentry, A History and Encyclopedia of Country and Western and Gospel Music (1961, repr. 1972); H. C. Boyer, How Sweet the Sound: The Golden Age of Gospel (1995).

References in periodicals archive ?
As a gospel choir, their songs praise God and David mentions his faith time and again.
The winners of this year's Songs of Praise Gospel Choir of the Year will be performing at the Hawes & Curtis store in New Street between 6pm and 7pm.
The sound of the London Community Gospel Choir will be the main focus of the evening and this is just the choir to create that celebratory feeling.
The Shout Gospel Choir, from Stratford, will be performing at the church on Saturday, October 25.
In 1996, Tye founded a gospel choir, Greater Anointing (GA), consisting of a group of friends whose hearts were set simply on praising the creator through the gift of great music.
The Pathmark Gospel Choir Competition is a natural outgrowth of Pathmark's commitment to ethnic communities.
X Factor finalist Rhydian and the London Community Gospel Choir will have audiences rocking in the aisles next month.
The concert will also feature the Leicester Community Gospel Choir, the Redeemed Christian Church Choir and renowned worship leader Sandra Godley, who will host the evening.
PRAISE BE: The Love and Joy gospel choir promote the free Festival of Hope fortnight Picture: ANDREW TEEBAY/at310508cgospel
Olivia Hunter never expected to get a job as a singer when the Lord led her to telephone the office of the Harlem Gospel Choir a little more than two years ago.
Ashland, 30 plus members of the Soweto Gospel Choir, will lift their voices in song.
Following the walk, which was organized by the city of San Gabriel, the walkers, including Los Pobladores 200, the settlers' descendants, were treated to a multicultural celebration that included birthday cake, food and performances from a variety of groups, including the Xipe Totec Aztec Indian Dancers, Mariachi Oro Angelino and Understanding Principals Gospel Choir.

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