Evolution Of Gospel Music

By Nelly Ruach

Of all the genras of music we have learned this semester, Gospel music has been the common denominator for all of them. Because our music begins at a time of our toughest days, it is only normal that we would have music centered around our faith. Gospel music has given hope to the hopeless, peace to the restless, and purpose for those who feel worthless. 

Thomas A. Dorsey (1899-1993) was considered the father of Gospel Music. 


Dorsey grew up very religous and went on to become a composer and musician. In his lifetime, he made around 3000 songs with a third of them being gospel songs. His presence was heavy in the community and left him selling millions of his gospels in the 20th century.




Transitional Gospel Music Holiness-Penecostal Style

Traditional Music: Rural

This style of gospel music came about from the 20s-30s. Although this is is nearly identical to the originality of the style, this form usually involved few performers. Most of these performers performed under pseudonyms since they were blues man and mainly performs with a guitar. 


Tindley Style

This style of gospel music was named after Revreand Charles Albert Tindley (1851-1933). His musicical style was essential to the dynamic of worship. 


He wanted his music to be felt and expressed through shouts and praise, using body moments to fully express the emotions felt during a worship. 

Changing To Our Needs

If we are like many of the church goers of our generation, we would find ourselves in church to catch a quick nap. As we have grown older, we have found ourselves finding churches that are more contemporary and suiting to our needs. The Music has artist who can put a gospel song to an upbeat tune, lyrics that flow with the style of a rap song, and can keep us engaged to our times. 

Commodification Controversy

Just because gospel music is Christ centered doesn’t mean that there wont be people trying to make a quick buck off of it. Popular music artist such as Kanye West and Justin Bieber have been accused of this as the public feel as though this is just a way for them to make money off of merchandise and tour while piggy backing off of a respected aspect of many peoples religion.

Whether we know where their true intentions lie or not, celebrities are an example of how this genera of music has found itself starting at the root of slavery with our ancestors singing to the skies to now being a global and popular music genera.

Works Cited





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