Under the genre of Christian music is the gospel music. Culture and social context affect the definition, significance, performance, and creation of gospel music. There are many purposes of gospel music: It could be for esthetic pleasure, for religious and ceremonial purposes, or a form of entertainment to be put out on the marketplace. Elements of gospel music consist of Christian lyrics and vocals dominating the composition. With roots in the black oral tradition, gospel music is an art form that dates back to the early 17th century. To accompany the composition, some churches resort to hand clapping and foot-stomping instead of musical instruments. Meanwhile, the term ôgospel musicö itself was first used in 1874. Authors such as Fanny Crosby, William Howard Doane, Charles H. Gabriel, Philip Bliss, and George F. Root can be said to be the composers of the original gospel songs. When radio first emerged in the 1920s, audience for gospel music became much wider. Gospel music moved into major auditoriums after World War II. Since then, concerts for gospel music turn out to be even more elaborate in the process.
There is another subgenre of gospel music called gospel blues. This genre is formed by basing the composition on the blues music. Application of this merger is apparent through combining evangelical lyrics with blues guitar. Other subgenres include Southern gospel, progressive Southern gospel, and Christian country music. The Christian country music is also known as country gospel music and it reached its popularity during the mid-1990s. Another subgenre of gospel music is bluegrass gospel music. The subgenre is derived from American mountain music. Celtic gospel music, on the other hand, mixes things up with Celtic influences and is popular especially in Ireland. The British black gospel is gospel music produced in the UK but is influenced by African diaspora.
The common elements of gospel music are vocals and Christian lyrics. Modern gospel music uses lyrics that are not explicitly Christian in spirit and may emphasize on the sound only. Some forms of gospel music may also involve choirs, Hammond organ or piano, bass guitar, drums, tambourines, and electric guitar. Gospel music is quite different from hymns. Hymns are composed in a measure that is statelier while gospel music comes with a syncopated rhythm as well as a refrain. In essence, gospel music contains some sort of religious warning or exhortation, persuasion, or testimony, or all of those aspects at once.