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Gospel Music

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Gospel Music

Gospel music is considered to have begun in the United States, sometime in the nineteenth century. The first time that appeared in print was in 1874. The English term "gospel" translates to the meaning of good news, or a joyous message. This is a form of American religious music. A lot of its origin is from the Christian conversions of West Africans who were enslaved in the American south. Gospel music gradually developed partly from the songs that slaves sang while they were working on the plantations down in the south. These songs were sung as work songs. As the slaves worked on the plantations they sung these song to make their time working more enjoyable. Gospel songs were also part of Protestant hymns that were sung in churches. A form of music that is so very close to gospels is spirituals.

Spirituals are religious folk songs. In general, black spirituals are rhythmic and very emotional. Spirituals are usually sung in-groups of people; large groups more than small. An example of a group is a church congregation. A leader such as a pastor, minister, preacher, or a choir director usually starts the spirituals off by singing a phrase of the song and the choir or the whole congregation will join in singing. A lot of spirituals such as "Nobody Knows the Trouble I've Seen," express sorrow and despair. These songs usually have a pretty slow tempo and have a lot of slurring. On the flip side, other songs such as, "Didn't my Lord Deliver Daniel?" and "Little David Play on your Harp," are joyful and usually more up beat. Some of the spirituals have multiple meanings. Slaves used these songs as they planned their escape. For example, the song "Steal away" was used to signal an escape was planned.

Gospel music is more emotional and triumphant. Gospel music, as spirituals, is sung by a group such as a choir or a congregation, in a call and response fashion, with a leader starting and then others joining in. This became quite common in black churches. The songs are sung with enthusiasm and spiritual inspiration. As people sing gospel music in churches, it is common for people to actually be able to feel the Holy Spirit through singing. Some examples of churches that are most likely to sing gospel music are the COGIC churches. These are the churches of God in Christ. Also Baptist churches and non-denominational churches



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