The History of Gospel Music

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
As its first task, this book defines Gospel music in the prologue to set the stage for readers. The development of Gospel music is traced back first to Africa and slavery. In an effort to cope, slaves turned to music where they could find moments of relief from their hardships. Almost any occasion was cause for music, singing and dancing, including weddings, births and holidays and was usually provided by the plantation's slaves. Many instruments rooted in Africa found their way to America through the slaves. Blacks in America began going to war including the American Revolution and Boston Massacre in 1770. Music was used to keep marching time and having musical abilities permitted many slaves to be assigned to these duties. Gospel music then evolved in the church, whereby everyone participated through singing, dancing or clapping. Thomas A. Dorsey is known as "the Father of Gospel Music" and Mahalia Jackson the queen. Gospel music is often inspired by faith and religion and developed what is known as Negro spirituals. Characteristic of this technique was a lead singer with three background vocalists utilizing a call and response method. Other forms of music that have contributed to the development of Gospel music, include ragtime, blues and jazz. Modern Gospel as we know it entered Americans in the 1950s during the civil rights movement. Gospel music has also been integrated into country music popularized by Johnny Cash and Hank Williams. Other legends include Sarah Vaughan, Nat King Cole and more recently, Kirk Franklin, who combines hip-hop music with gospel. This informative examination of significant gospel artists and composers also includes a chronology, bibliography andpictures.
—Michele Wilbur
This "African American Achievers" series offers relatively brief histories of various aspects of the black experience in America. Classified as juvenile literature, each volume contains numerous b/w illustrations and the type size is relatively large, so the format aids the reader. This is directly for middle school students, but will also be useful for some older students as well. The history of gospel music covers a lot of ground not very thoroughly. The authors start with slavery, spirituals, and shout songs and continue through most of the major forms of African American music, even the blues, ragtime, and jazz. Gospel is one part of this history, of course. Central figures such as Thomas Dorsey, featured in the documentary film Say Amen, Somebody, are given special notice, and rightly so. A chapter on the minstrel show confuses the focus—I'm not sure what this has to do with gospel music. Purchase where you have an acute need for this topic. Category: History and Geography. KLIATT Codes: JS—Recommended for junior and senior high school students. 2001, Chelsea House, 104p. illus. bibliog. index., Ages 13 to 18. Reviewer: Claire Rosser; KLIATT
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780791058183
  • Publisher: Chelsea House Publishers
  • Publication date: 10/28/2001
  • Series: African-American Achievers Series
  • Pages: 112
  • Age range: 11 - 17 Years
  • Product dimensions: 7.40 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 0.50 (d)

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