Gospel Music Origins Anybody interested in R&B and soul needs to understand the massive influence that gospel music had on these burgeoning and steadily growing genres. Historians continually point to gospel music and its many offshoots as having a powerful influence on African-American music and genres beyond this subset of music stylization. The ecstatic singing and religious fervor common in the genre found inroads into soul, funk, R&B, and even early rock and roll. Gospel music has a complicated history that extends far into the earliest days of American settlement into European Christianity and much farther back. The earliest form of gospel music was likely the intoning singing of ancient monks. This style is far removed from what most people consider gospel music but did set a basis for traditional Christian music and a tradition for singing during ceremonies that extends on to modern religious ceremonies. The religious connections in gospel music are obvious and are a big part of its appeal to fans. Though the musical elements of gospel-styled music can be complex and multifaceted , successful gospel combines religious fervor and relative musical simplicity with performing excellence to create a genre that has influenced not just multiple styles but which has touched the lives of millions: “Gospel Music is a shining beacon of hope, a fantastic journey of joy divine, and a triumphant victory in God that comes from deep down in the souls of God’s Chosen People,” notes the Gospel Music Heritage Month Foundation. “The greatest melodies and the most stimulating songs have been given to this Nation and the World through the African American experience.” Gospel music is predominately vocal-based music that focuses on massed voices singing either in unison or harmony.


R&B, Soul, and Gospel

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