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Origin of Praise and Worship Songs People Know and Love
If you are a fan of today’s praise and worship songs then it’s important for you to first understand where they came from to truly appreciate them today. It’s one thing to just be a fan of Christian songs people know and love today but it’s another to have a true appreciation for the history of the songs from the church.
The actual date of origin of songs from the church has been debated and probably will be debated for years to come but the original songs date back before for the early 300’s when they were called “plainsong” or a hymn. These were merely responses between the congregation and the Cantor reflective of that particular synagogue at the time. These were basically renditions of Hebrew and Greek poetry in a chant format. Later an antiphon was added to these responsorial chants which later became the foundation of what we know now today as a chorus.
Then in the 1500’s and 1600’s came a change as more composers began doing more praise and worship songs that involved a more individual religious feeling and less about quoting the Scripture directly. It wasn’t until the 1700’s before musical instruments became more widely used. Many shorter songs along with hymns and anthems were created during this period. This is where the songs began to take on a new sound and feeling that would continue to progressively change as time went on.
It was then in the 1800s and 1900s where gospel songs really began to take on the sound of music of the times particularly here in America. American traveling preachers began to use country-theme songs and this type of worship music eventually became the start of gospel music in the early 1920’s. A lot of this music was deeply rooted in bluegrass, black gospel and jazz. The proliferation of this style of music continued into the 1950’s. In the 1950s with the introduction of rock ‘n roll that spurred many genres of music, praise and worship songs began to take shape of the genre of the times.
With each passing decade a new version or genre of music began to evolve and songs followed suit. In the 60’s and 70’s there was a hippy music movement and into the 70’s was more the classic rock and many worship song artists began there as well. The 80’s brought heavy metal and the 90’s brought a combination of country and rock mixed to bring a new generation of worship artists in reggae, rap and urban Gospel.
Some of today’s most popular gospel artists are a culmination of the collective history of Christian music dating back hundreds of years. Such popular artists of today and yesterday as Carmen, Chris Tomlin and David Crowder are all a byproduct of the great history that precedes them. So to be a fan of today’s gospel music means more than just being your average fan, it’s about understanding the true history of the praise and worship songs we as people know and love from then till now.
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