With much of its roots stemming from the Christian slaves of West Africa in the American South, much of our Gospel Music sung today has evolved from the songs the slaves sang on the plantations.
Protestant hymns sang in churches were also responsible for some of the Gospel Music as we know it today although Spirituals where the lyrics are often taken from Bible passages with the accompanying music steeped in melancholy has an influence on this music genre.
Spiritual Music is directly related to the grief-stricken songs that were often the source material of the blues and a number of more joyous spirituals influenced the content of modern Gospel Songs.
Music has always formed an integral part of Christian worship since the foundation of the first churches. Much of this early Christian music was not intended for commoners to perform, however, since it was repeated in chants or musical liturgy during Mass. When the Protestant movement gained acceptance, the concept of composing hymns for congregational singing also became more recognised. When Europeans began to colonise America, many of them used these hymns during worship services. This importation of sacred church music formed the basis of “white” Gospel Music as composers used the musical styles of their time to create new hymns.