Gospel Music is the 20th century form of African American religious music that evolved in urban cities following the Great Migration of African Americans. It wasn’t until 1930 that gospel music gained repertoire, performance style and widespread usage among blacks across denominational lines.
Thomas Dorsey was known as the father of Gospel Music. During the early 1930s, Thomas Dorsey created gospel music , the African American religious music which married secular blues to a sacred text. Under the name “Georgia Tom” he performed with blues artist Ma Rainey and her Wild Cats Jazz Band. He wrote over 400 compositions, but it is for “Take My Hand, Precious Lord” that he is best known for.
Different Types of Gospel Music
- Transitional Gospel Music- use of musical instruments mostly that had been associated with secular music was now a compelling marker for this new form of religious music expressions
- Call and Response- routinely incorporated into simple verse chorus structures, and singer and instrumentalists performed in a highly repetitive improvisational style.
- Traditional Gospel-One of Thomas Dorsey’s most important achievement was his role in forging elements representative of each of the three forms of transitional gospel music-rural, tindley style, and holiness-pentecostal style
- Contemporary Gospel- This was a crossover market for gospel music which included songs like “oh happy day”, gospel moved from within confines of Black church to become a music that knew neither denominational, racial, cultural boundaries, another example includes Kirk Franklin who embraced rap, hip-hop, and funk in his music consistent with that of other contemporary gospel music groups, crossed over to rhythm and blues charts as well.