Worship music is a huge body of religious devotional song, and is usually a way of describing praise and worship music that is in a pop style. Contemporary worship music (CWM) genres are embraced across the religions encompassed by the Christian faith.

Contemporary Christian music originated in America in the 1950s and 60s, with evangelistic youth groups incorporating pop music styles of the day combined with Christian lyrics. Embracing a traditional band setup led by either piano or guitar, the musical movement brought a new way of worshiping to congregations in the 20th Century. In the UK, The Joystrings were the first Christian Salvation Army pop group to sign to EMI Records in 1964 and have chart success with their songs. Christian publishing house The Jubilate Group was founded in the 1960s and released a collection of 150 now famous songs, Youth Praise, which also made it into America.

In the USA contemporary praise songs have a rich history and association with African American Gospel music, developed alongside rhythm and blues. Gospel music and African American Spiritual are the oldest styles of worship music in America, with recordings of Gospel becoming popular in the 1930s and 40s. The use of vocal harmony was established by Gospel quartets for four male parts, with a fifth part and a guitar being added in the 1940s. As with the UK, the Gospel style was brought into the mainstream charts thanks to singers such as Aretha Franklin in the 1960s. Other changes saw Gospel choirs growing in size and becoming mixed with both men and women during this time.

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One of the most famous American Gospel choirs is from the Brooklyn Tabernacle church in New York. Consisting of 270 singers that perform around the world, the Grammy Award-winning choir’s home in the Tabernacle church consists of a 3,000-seat theatre. Originally formed as a small choir in the mid 70s, members of the congregation were attracted to join, owing the diverse cross section of people in the group a big part of its appeal and warmth.

Across the country in California, the Calvary Chapel is another notable church that grew in popularity in the 1960s after welcoming thousands of ex-hippies who embraced the new Christian rock genre. The evangelical church grew the 60s and 70s movement into a fellowship of over 1,700 churches under the Calvary Chapel name.

While there is even more contemporary worship music available than ever before in the 21st Century, the good news is that much of it is accessible online nowadays, with masses of free resources and information available.

Worship Together has a huge amount of content from free songs to scores, chord charts, podcasts, videos and blogs to choose from.

All Worship is an online Christian radio station that provides contemporary worship, praise and worship, Spanish worship and instrumental worship music. The station is free for listeners so that all are able to access the station no matter where in the world they are.

Essential Worship is a site that provides free transposable chord and number charts, lyrics, themes, acoustic videos for new and favourite worship songs.

Resound Worship is another well-rounded resource with a huge amount of songs, blogs and playlist-style categories for listeners to appreciate.

CBN Radio hosts 12 Christian music stations distinguished by genre, from Classic Christian to Southern Gospel.

Contemporary Worship Music is very much alive in the 21st Century, as the music charts will affirm. You can keep up to date with the Official Christian & Gospel Albums Chart Top 20 and the UK Christian Music Chart.

Whatever style of worship music you are passionate about, PlayScore 2 can be used as a device for music practice, interactive learning and more. You can digitise and share your sheet music scores with your choir, band or worship group quickly and easily with the app. PlayScore 2 replaces the old fashioned slow methods of laboriously computer scanning in order to digitise and share pieces; the phone and tablet app makes the scanning process incredibly simple and straightforward, so that you can concentrate on the music.