Melody In Gospel Music
In this lesson we discuss the importance of melody and how to approach it when playing gospel.
The Importance Of Learning The Lyrics
Learning the lyrics is a very important step to become more comfortable and confident with melodic improvisation. As mentioned in the previous lessons, in order to play gospel music properly, we must understand what we are playing.
Understand The Meaning Behind The Lyrics
The easiest way to understand what we are playing is to learn the meaning behind the lyrics in gospel songs and church hymns. Once we have internalised the melody, the lyrics, and the meaning behind the lyrics, we don’t just see the song as a set of chord changes, but instead we start to develop a deeper connection with the song.
We demonstrate this process using 2 well-known church hymns.
“Amazing Grace” & “Precious Lord”
We take 2 well-known church hymns and we explore how the melody and the lyrics can be used as a starting point for improvisation.
In the final lesson of this course we again take the hymn “Precious Lord” and demonstrate the art of accompanying a gospel singer as well as improvisation, fills, embellishments and other ways to enhance the melody when playing gospel piano.
Amazing Grace Improv Transcription File Type: pdf
“Precious Lord” Improv Transcription File Type: pdf
We must sing the melody and also sing the lyrics when we are approaching melodic development and improvisation in gospel music and church hymns.
Play through the song "Amazing Grace" slowly, so that you have time to explore and experiment with melodic fills and embellishments.
When learning to improvise gospel music, it's vitally important that we are listening and transcribing from notable gospel recordings and musicians.
Listen to the great gospel vocalists such as James Cleveland, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, and Shirley Caesar. Also listen to the people that accompanied them and how they embellished the melody and improvised.