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Moody and Sankey
Now to Moody and Sankey. Dwight Lyman Moody (1837 - 1899) and Ira David Sankey (1840 - 1908) were revivalist evangelicals who preached and sang to vast crowds in England and America – they also undertook missionary work. The words were written by Moody and Sankey wrote the tunes of their characteristic Gospel music.
They evolved their own style of Gospel hymn which most people found very attractive and, like the Wesleys and the Salvation Army, used it to raise the commitment and fervour of the hundreds of thousands they preached to. They were idealists who refused to take a penny from their hymn royalties.
Moody and Sankey continued to establish Gospel Music as the major force in Church music. One of the hymn books which included their work, Sacred Songs and Solos, sold over 80 million copies in fifty years and it remains in print to this day - an astonishing achievement.
Moody and Sankey’s missionary visit to Tahiti produced an extraordinary side-effect. The Tahitians adapted Sankey’s Victorian harmonies into their own folk music with fascinating results. So when you visit the South Seas you will hear English nineteenth-century Gospel Music alive and well and sung with much fervour in the Pacific sunshine!
There's more about the roots of Gospel music in The Salvation Army and Negro Spirituals.
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