Denomination dating blues
Musically, gospel is distinguished by its vocal style, which in both male and female singers is characterized by a strained, full-throated sound, often pushed to guttural shrieks and rasps suited to the extremes of the emotion-laden lyrics.Melodies and harmonies are generally simple, allowing for spontaneity in devising repetitive, expressive fills and riffs.Preachers who popularized their own songs included J. Burnett ("Drive and Go Forward," 1926), Ford Washington Mc Ghee ("Lion of the Tribe of Judah," 1927), J. Gates ("Death's Black Train Is Coming," 1926), and A. In 1921 the National Baptist Convention, USA, the largest organization of black Christians in the world, not only formally recognized gospel as a legitimate sacred musical form but published a collection of hymns, spirituals, and gospel songs under the title Gospel Pearls, edited by Willa A. That hymnal contained six songs by Tindley, the first gospel composer successfully to combine the conventions of white evangelical music with the simple, often sentimental melodies of black spirituals.The 1921 convention also marked the emergence of the composer Thomas A.Drawing on the call-and-response tradition that dated back to slavery times, members of a congregation would take inspiration from a phrase from the sermon or testimony and out of it spontaneously compose a simple melody and text.
Thus, in the nineteenth century, African-American hymnody in mainstream denominations did not differ considerably from music performed in white churches.The first congregation known to accept this doctrine, based on the activities of the Day of Pentecost (though, confusingly, this is not what is now called Pentecostalism) was the United Holy Church of Concord, South Carolina, which held its first meeting in 1886 and had its first convention in 1894 under the leadership of Brother L. The Holiness doctrine proved controversial within black churches, as did the music associated with Holiness.In 1895 Charles Harrison Mason and Charles Price Jones were forced from the Baptist church, and together they proceeded to organize the Church of God in Christ in Lexington, Mississippi, where the music was heavily influenced by the performance style at Los Angeles's Azusa Street Revival, a black congregation that marked the beginning of Pentecostalism, under the leadership of William Joseph Seymour.Along with simple "homemade" harmonies came hand-clapping, foot-stomping, and holy dancing, also known as "shouting." Holiness, Sanctified, and Pentecostal congregations sprang up rapidly all over the South, particularly in rural, poor communities, starting around the turn of the century, and in less than a decade gospel music, then known as church music, was being sung in Baptist and Methodist congregations as well.During this time the most popular gospel hymns were by a new generation of black composers, including William Henry Sherwood; Jones, who composed "Where Shall I Be?