I'm not here to proselytize, but I am here to tell you that gospel music is amazing. The technicalities of gospel inform artists across genres. That's why almost all of your favorite rap, rock, jazz, and even the occasional punk artist use gospel choirs to beef up their tracks. Honestly, praise and worship music can put you in the best mood. I might be a little biased, having grown up in the church, but nonetheless...

More About Gospel Music

This history of the 'negro spiritual' is rich and interesting, and I encourage you to learn more about it. For instance, in much of gospel music, you'll hear a succession of two distinct phrases usually played by different musicians, where the second phrase is heard as a direct commentary on or response to the first. This is called a 'call and response'. In Sub-Saharan African cultures, call and response is an integral part of communication —in public gatherings in the discussion of civic affairs, in religious rituals, as well as in vocal and instrumental musical expression. It is this tradition that African bondsmen and women brought with them to the New World and which has been transmitted over the centuries in various forms of cultural expression—in religious observance; public gatherings; sporting events; even in children's rhymes; and, most notably, in African-American music in its myriad forms and descendants including: soul, gospel, blues, rhythm and blues, rock and roll, funk and hip hop. Call and response is widely present in parts of the Americas touched by the trans-Atlantic slave trade.

 Kirk Franklin and The Family

Kirk Franklin and The Family

Work Songs

African-American work songs originally developed in the era of captivity, between the seventeenth and nineteenth centuries. Because they were part of an almost entirely oral culture they had no fixed form and only began to be recorded as the era of slavery came to an end after 1865. A common feature of African American songs was the call-and-response format, where a leader would sing a verse or verses and the others would respond with a chorus. This came from African traditions of agricultural work song and found its way into the spirituals that developed once Africans in bondage began to convert to Christianity and from there to both gospel music and the blues. 

So maybe THAT'S why your mama is playing gospel music at 8 am, and handing you a bucket, some gloves, and a mop. 

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