Traditional black gospel is music that is written to express either personal or a communal belief regarding Christian life, as well as (in terms of the varying music styles) to give a Christian alternative to mainstream secular music. It is a form of Christian music and a subgenre of gospel music.
Like other forms of music the creation, performance, significance, and even the definition of gospel music varies according to culture and social context. It is composed and performed for many purposes, ranging from aesthetic pleasure, religious or ceremonial purposes, or as an entertainment product for the marketplace. However, a common theme as with most Christian music is praise, worship or thanks to God and/or Christ.
Traditional gospel music was popular in the mid-20th century. It is the primary source for urban contemporary gospel and Christian hip hop, which rose in popularity during the very late 20th century and early 21st century.
Origins and development
The origins of gospel music are during American slavery, when enslaved Africans were introduced to the Christian religion and converted in large numbers. Remnants of different African cultures were combined with Western Christianity, with one result being the emergence of the spiritual. Jubilee songs and sorrow songs were two type of spirituals that emerged during the 18th and 19th centuries. Some spirituals were also used to pass on hidden messages; for example, when Harriet Tubman was nearby, slaves would sing "Go Down, Moses" to signify that a 'deliverer' was nearby. At this time, the term "gospel songs" referred to evangelical hymns sung by Protestant (Congregational and Methodist) Christians, especially those with a missionary theme. Gospel composers included writers like Ira D. Sankey and Mason Lowry, and Charles B. Tindell. Hymns, Protestant gospel songs, and spirituals make up the basic source of modern black gospel.
Original music (1920s – 1940s)
What most African Americans would identify today as "gospel" began in the early 20th century. The gospel music that Thomas A. Dorsey, Sallie Martin, Willie Mae Ford Smith and other pioneers popularized had its roots in the blues as well as in the more freewheeling forms of religious devotion of "Sanctified" or "Holiness" churches — sometimes called "holy rollers" by other denominations — who encouraged individual church members to "testify, " speaking or singing spontaneously about their faith and experience of the Holy Ghost and "Getting Happy, " sometimes while dancing in celebration. In the 1920s Sanctified artists, such as Arizona Dranes, many of whom were also traveling preachers, started making records in a style that melded traditional religious themes with barrelhouse, blues and boogie-woogie techniques and brought jazz instruments, such as drums and horns, into the church.
Thomas Dorsey stretched the boundaries in his day to create great gospel music, choirs, and quartets. Talented vocalists have been singing these songs far beyond Dorsey's expectations. The method, dynamics and power behind the songs are different, but God's message is delivered each and every time.
Bluegrass on KQED
Airing August 10 and 14 on KQED TV9.
ALL STAR BLUEGRASS CELEBRATION II
8/10 7pm, 8/14 9pm (1:59:46*) (CC)
The second annual showcase for one of America's most unique musical styles
features familiar favorites and some fresh new faces, originating from the
historic stage of the Grand Ole Opryhouse in Nashville, Tennessee. Returning
artists include Alison Krauss and Union Station featuring Jerry Douglas,
enjoying the most successful year of their career. The Del McCoury Band
continues to break new musical ground, the legendary Ralph Stanley and the