An American made genre merging from the African folk music traditions of American slaves which grew into the music of the “black” church in America.  Gospel is the predecessor of  secular Soul music to Rock music.  Gospel/R&B/Soul is characterized by expressive, emotive vocal and instrumental virtuosity over  a heavy, insistent beat  .   The genre has evolved to encompass many different styles since its conception, merging with other styles to create new sounds.  Solo performers and groups are typical, while the vocal element is strong.  In recent years, the term R&B has come to describe Soul music’s merger with Pop.