The origin of gospel music began following the Great Migration of Blacks from the south. Though the genre had legs far before it was given the title “gospel music” until the 1930s. Gospel consists of religious music created my African Americans in urban centers, Gospel around its conception was disputed because of the controversy surrounding wether it could or should be sang, rather than preached. Though as the genre matured it was understood that this music was an extension of the words preached in sermon.
Elements of the Genre
Gospel music arose from the ashes of folk spiritual, some of the earliest music pertaining to religious and soul fusion. Gospel has elements of folk music along with its own unique style of high energy vocals and “shout”. Baptist and Methodist churches where the spirit of the music was highly energized and music contained a variety of range. The genre also has a huge call and response aspect that in essence is one of the biggest aspects of gospel music.
The rise of gospel music had a profound effect on the african american community. Gospel at many moments throughout history has been a mirror for the space in time of which we live. It has become the soundtrack behind many social and political movements, as it has repressed hope and faith within the community. During the civil right movement this sentiment couldn’t have rang more true.
Mahalia Jackson is known as the “queen of gospel” with a career that spans decades. After becoming a member of the Baptist church, she soon after became a member of the Johnson Gospel Singers. Her repertoire spans genres, and projects with and some of the greatest performers; such as Duke Ellington, and Thomas A Dorsey.
Commodification of the Genre
Mahalia Jackson is the greatest selling gospel singer, in the country. With her song “Move On Up a Little Higher” in 1947 she sold millions of copies. She became the hottest commodity on the music scene, her career skyrocketing to superstardom. Record companies of the 50’s and 60’s used the appeal of Gospel, the need to hear the good word, to their advantage to capitalize off of this lucrative genre that has proven to outlast the times.
Influences on Later Genres
Gospel has a direct influence on Funk and Soul music. They both capture the soulful nature and essence that is about more than just the music. Gospel is performance art in its entirely, it requires the performer to perform with their entire being. Funk and Soul music are similar in the way that the performer, performs with their entire being.
Gospel is a timeless and one of the most influential genres in our community. Gospel transcends generations because it requires a connection with the soul that is beyond just sound. Mahalia Jackson describes gospel as , “Gospel music is nothing but singing of good tidings — spreading the good news. It will last as long as any music because it is sung straight from the human heart.”[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=06gAdro-62E[/embedyt][embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=06gAdro-62E[/embedyt][embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=06gAdro-62E[/embedyt]