StylesOn this radio station you will find the following music styles;
Gospel (black gospel as not southern gospel)
Gospel music is a music genre in Christian music. The creation, performance, significance, and even the definition of gospel music varies according to culture and social context. Gospel music is composed and performed for many purposes, including aesthetic pleasure, religious or ceremonial purposes, and as an entertainment product for the marketplace. Gospel music usually has dominant vocals (often with strong use of harmony) with Christian lyrics. Gospel music can be traced to the early 17th century, with roots in the black oral tradition. Hymns and sacred songs were repeated in a call and response fashion. Most of the churches relied on hand clapping and foot stomping as rhythmic accompaniment. Most of the singing was done a cappella. The first published use of the term ″Gospel Song" probably appeared in 1874. The original gospel songs were written and composed by authors such as George F. Root, Philip Bliss, Charles H. Gabriel, William Howard Doane, and Fanny Crosby. Gospel music publishing houses emerged. The advent of radio in the 1920s greatly increased the audience for gospel music. Following World War II, gospel music moved into major auditoriums, and gospel music concerts became quite elaborate.
Gospel blues is a blues-based form of gospel music (a combination of blues guitar and evangelistic lyrics).
Gospel music in general is characterized by dominant vocals (often with strong use of harmony) referencing lyrics of a Christian nature. Subgenres include contemporary gospel, urban contemporary gospel (sometimes referred to as "black gospel"). Several forms of gospel music utilize choirs, use piano or Hammond organ, tambourines, drums, bass guitar and, increasingly, electric guitar. In comparison with hymns, which are generally of a statelier measure, the gospel song is expected to have a refrain and often a more syncopated rhythm.
Several attempts have been made to describe the style of late 19th and early 20th century gospel songs in general. Christ-Janer said "the music was tuneful and easy to grasp ... rudimentary harmonies ... use of the chorus ... varied metric schemes ... motor rhythms were characteristic ... The device of letting the lower parts echo rhythmically a motive announced by the sopranos became a mannerism".
Roots and background
Coming out of the African American religious experience, gospel music can be traced to the early 17th century. Gospel music has roots in the black oral tradition, and typically utilizes a great deal of repetition. The repetition of the words allowed those who could not read the opportunity to participate in worship. During this time, hymns and sacred songs were lined and repeated in a call and response fashion, and the Negro spirituals and work songs emerged. Repetition and "call and response" are accepted elements in African music, designed to achieve an altered state of consciousness we sometimes refer to as "trance", and strengthen communal bonds.
Most of the churches relied on hand clapping and foot stomping as rhythmic accompaniment. There would be guitars and tambourines available every now and then, but not frequently. Church choirs became a norm only after emancipation. Most of the singing was done a cappella.
20th centuryThe holiness-Pentecostal movement, or sanctified movement, appealed to people who were not attuned to the Europeanized version of black church music. Holiness worship has used any type of instrumentation that congregation members might bring in, from tambourines to electric guitars. Pentecostal churches readily adopted and contributed to the gospel music publications of the early 20th century. Late 20th-century musicians such as Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Mahalia Jackson, Andrae Crouch, and the Blackwood Brothers either were raised in a Pentecostal environment, or have acknowledged the influence of that tradition.
The advent of radio in the 1920s greatly increased the audience for gospel music, and James D. Vaughan used radio as an integral part of his business model, which also included traveling quartets to publicize the gospel music books he published several times a year. Virgil O. Stamps and Jesse R. Baxter studied Vaughan's business model and by the late 1920s were running heavy competition for Vaughan. The 1920s also saw the marketing of gospel records by groups such as the Carter Family.
The first person to introduce the ragtime influence to gospel accompaniment as well as to play the piano on a gospel recording was Arizona Dranes.
In African-American music, gospel quartets developed an a cappella style following the earlier success of the Fisk Jubilee Singers. The 1930s saw the Fairfield Four, the Dixie Hummingbirds, the Five Blind Boys of Mississippi, the Five Blind Boys of Alabama, The Soul Stirrers, the Swan Silvertones, the Charioteers, and the Golden Gate Quartet. Racism divided the nation, and this division did not skip the church. If during slavery blacks were treated as inferior inside the white churches, after emancipation they formed their own separate churches. The gospel groups which were very popular within the black community, were virtually unknown to the white community, though some in the white community began to follow them. In addition to these high-profile quartets, there were many black gospel musicians performing in the 1920s and 30s, usually playing the guitar and singing in the streets of Southern cities. Famous among them were Blind Willie Johnson, Blind Joe Taggart and others.
In the 1930s, in Chicago, Thomas A. Dorsey (best known as author of the song "Precious Lord, Take My Hand"), who had spent the 1920s writing and performong secular blues music under the name "Georgia Tom", turned to gospel music, establishing a publishing house. He had experienced many trials in his life,including the death of his pregnant wife. Thomas gained biblical knowledge from his father, who was a Baptist minister, and was taught to play piano by his mother. He started working with blues musicians when the family moved to Atlanta. It has been said that 1930 was the year when modern gospel music began, because the National Baptist Convention first publicly endorsed the music at its 1930 meeting. Dorsey was responsible for developing the musical careers of many African-American artists, such as Mahalia Jackson.
Meanwhile, the radio continued to develop an audience for gospel music, a fact that was commemorated in Albert E. Brumley's 1937 song, "Turn Your Radio On" (which is still being published in gospel song books). In 1972, a recording of "Turn Your Radio On" by the Lewis Family was nominated for "Gospel Song of the Year" in the Gospel Music Association's Dove Awards.
Following the Second World War, gospel music moved into major auditoriums, and gospel music concerts became quite elaborate. In 1950, black gospel was featured at Carnegie Hall when Joe Bostic produced the Negro Gospel and Religious Music Festival. He repeated it the next year with an expanded list of performing artists, and in 1959 moved to Madison Square Garden. Today, black gospel and white gospel are distinct genres, with distinct audiences.
The secular version of this music is urban contemporary music, which is musically indistinguishable, but which takes non-religious subjects for its lyrical content.
Urban/contemporary gospel music is characterized by dominant vocals, usually performed by a soloist. Common instruments include drums, electric guitar, bass guitar, and keyboards.
The lyrics very often have an explicitly Christian nature, although "inspirational" songs feature lyrics that can be construed as secular in meaning. For example, a song about a father's love for his son may be interpreted as God the Father's love for God the Son, or as a human father's love for his human child. This lyrical ambiguity echoes the double-voicedness of 19th century spirituals, and may have musical crossover appeal to the larger secular market (Darden 2004:79-80). Common themes include hope, deliverance, love, and healing (Waldron 2006).
In comparison with traditional hymns, which are generally of a statelier measure, gospel songs are expected to have a refrain and a pronounced beat with a syncopated rhythm. Compared to modern praise and worship music, urban/contemporary gospel typically has a faster tempo and more emphasis on the performer. Like traditional black gospel music, the performer's emotional connection to the audience and the lyrical content of the song is valued highly.
The genre includes Christian hip hop (sometimes called "Christian rap"), Which is described in a separate link on this site.