What is Christian Music?
Christian music is simply music written and sung by Christians. Most times, people who write and sing christian songs do so in order to express their belief in the Jesus Christ.
Benefits of Listening to Music that Build up Your Life
Music sung by Christians lifts up the soul. It develops that yearning for God in us. Because this type of music talks about human experiences, it shows our relationship with God. We use music to ask for God’s help, to praise Him, to thank Him and to serve Him through Christ.
Christian music lyrics connect us to Biblical truths.
History of Christian Music
It is hard to find a record of the earliest music Christians sang. Being Jews, Jesus and His disciples would most likely have sung the psalms from memory.
Early Christians continued to sing the psalms much as they were sung in the synagogues in the first century.
However, we can find pieces of information in the New Testament that give us an idea of the Christian songs of that time - hymns. Some of the hymns of that period are still sung today in the Orthodox Church. For example, "Awake, awake O sleeper" is sung at the baptism of a Christian.
Aside from hymns taken from the Bible itself, the earliest hymn still in use today is probably “O Gladsome Light” (Greek, Phôs Hilaron).
In the fourth century, Basil the Great referred to it as already being a rather old hymn. Ephrem, the Syrian, composed a number of hymns later in the fourth century that supported what eventually came to be recognized as more orthodox doctrines.
At the conclusion of the Fifth Ecumenical Council, Emperor Justinian I is reputed to have composed a hymn summarizing the council's conclusion, “Only begotten Son.” That hymn was since incorporated into the Divine Liturgy of John Chrysostom and is still widely sung today.
The tradition of Christian hymns in the English language could be traced to Protestantism.
Protestant hymns can range from the Reformation organ pieces of J. S. Bach to the American folk hymns found in The Sacred Harp.
Martin Luther himself composed a number of hymns in the 16th century. He was reported to have borrowed some of the melodies of his hymns from popular tavern drinking songs of that period.
Christian Songs Today
Christian songs have become very popular today. The music has become so contemporary that you may find it hard to differentiate it from other music you listen to everyday. It has also become so widespread that some Christian radio stations have sprung up. These stations are fully dedicated to Christian tunes.
The internet has become one of the greatest sources of Christian composition. News about christian songs can be found online. You can also read reviews of latest Christian melody albums that have hit the market. You can check out the profiles of your favorite Christian song artistes.
Offline, you can also enjoy contemporary Christian music magazines.
Types of Christian Music
Christian Music can now be classified into a number of different categories. We will examine some of the more popular types of today's Christian song.
Contemporary Christian Music
Contemporary music literally covers all forms of new age Christian music. But it is most commonly associated with a new movement of Christian melody that has brought out alternative rock, pop, and Christian country (music) sounds.
The contemporary movement began in the 1960s, with this type of music then referred to as Jesus music. The growth of contemporary styles has been strong since the mid 1990s, and newer artists and subgenres help to continue the expansion of Christian song.
The words “hip hop” doesn't exactly bring up images of Jesus to one's mind, but Christian rappers have attempted to change that. Sometimes called gospel rap, Christian hip hop is a refreshing alternative to secular rap music. Christian rap music was started in the late 1980s and became increasingly popular throughout the late twentieth century because it offered an uplifting listening experience for youths, and it has good beats and positive lyrics. Gospel rap allows urban neighborhoods to celebrate their faith while listening to a style of music they have been accustomed to and enjoy.
Gospel music is uplifting, inspiring, and fun to listen to. When most think of gospel music, churches in the south of America come to mind. In fact, gospel music has been thought to have started during times of slavery in the late 1800s. The genre of gospel became established in the early 20th century, and is now listened to worldwide. Gospel music is known for its strong vocals surrounded by electric guitars and drums.
Christian rock music covers a lot of ground with many different sub genres contained within the rock category. The "sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll" explosion in the 1960s made many Christians wary of exploring the rock scene.
But, by early 1970s Christian rock bands began to separate themselves from a demonic image, and instead produced Christian lyrics with rock tones. Today many bands are considered Christian rock artists, some more devoted to the Christian title than others.
Obviously, this is not a complete list of Christian music genres. We encourage you to try out samples of some of these genres. You may be amazed at your experience that you may end up changing what you think your favorite genre is.