Gospel Music Characteristics


Gospel music has been an important part of the spiritual life of the church since the late 1800s. It has its roots in both Negro spirituals and traditional church hymns that came over from Europe. Revivalists of the turn of the century employed gospel music to stir emotions and gain converts.


  • Gospel music lyrics are simple and clear to communicate the message of God's love and forgiveness expressed through the death of Christ on the cross. The message is expressed sometimes from an experiential "I" and "my" perspective and sometimes from a "we" and "thou" angle (community-oriented traditional hymns).


  • Some instruments commonly heard in Gospel music are the piano, organ, guitar, bass guitar, drums, tambourines, keyboard, violin, and brass horns. The instruments vary according to the sub-genre of gospel music being played. The banjo is found commonly in blue-grass country-style gospel. The guitar and drums are the main source of sound in gospel rock.

Gospel Rhythms

  • Black gospel music is very rhythmic and involves frequent clapping to the beat of the song. Repetitious lyrics and rhythm patterns are often employed to make memorization of the lyrical content easier. One such song, says "Soon and very soon, we are going to see the King, Soon and very soon we are going to see the King" repeatedly and finishes with "Hallelujah, Hallelujah, we are going to see the King." This repetitious rhythm is both didactic and emotional.

Gospel Performers

  • Gospel music is presented by a variety of performers. The soloist is often employed to deliver a gospel song as an invitational tune at the end of a service. Duets are used on occasion to inspire the congregation with a heartfelt message. Gospel trios and quartets, such as the Gaither Trio and the Imperials, have produced many gospel classics. Choirs have also presented gospel tunes in churches and in concerts to inspire the faith of many.


  • Gospel music encompasses many sub-genres and styles. The traditional black gospel choir or soloist is definitely part of what gospel music is but not the whole picture. There are Country gospel singers whose inspirational tunes can be heard on country and Christian radio. Contemporary Christian music and Christian/gospel rock have brought the gospel message to mainstream audiences with singers like Amy Grant, Michael W. Smith, Stephen Curtis Chapman, and Petra.

Related Searches


Promoted By Zergnet


You May Also Like

  • About R&B Music

    R&B -- short for rhythm and blues -- started out as music by African-Americans for African-Americans. Originally termed "race music" by "Billboard,"...

  • Facts About Gospel Music

    Gospel music has its roots with the sacred songs of the early Christians. In its modern incarnation, gospel music has several recognizably...

  • What Are the Characteristics of Soul Music?

    Soul Music finds its origins in gospel, and the rhythm and blues music genre. Soul music became popularized during the 60's, particularly...

  • What Is Contemporary Gospel Music?

    Geared to younger audiences raised on the rhythms of urban music, contemporary gospel is an updated form of traditional gospel. This more...

  • Characteristics of Rock 'n' Roll Music

    Muddy Waters sang, “The blues had a baby and they named it rock and roll.” This tells part of the story of...

  • Characteristics of Hip Hop Music

    Hip hop music has gone through many changes since it was created in the late seventies. The hip hop playing on radio...

  • Characteristics of Rap Music

    Rap music originated in the early 1970s, when electronic dance music and hip hop became popular in dance clubs throughout the country....

Related Searches

Check It Out

12 Tiki Essentials to Turn Your Bar Cart Into a Tropical Paradise

Is DIY in your DNA? Become part of our maker community.
Submit Your Work!