Are we forgetting vocal counterpoint?
The greatest convention-style songwriters in the 1920s-1950s were masters of three-part and four-part vocal counterpoint. Vep Ellis, in particular, was so remarkably adept at vocal counterpoint that it wouldn’t be absurd to term him the Bach of convention-style songwriters. Yes, these writers wrote many songs with only one or two melody lines, but they were not limited to two.
For readers new to the genre, here is a video of an Ellis classic, performed by the Gaither Vocal Band and Ernie Haase and Signature Sound:
Today’s Southern Gospel songwriters write an increasingly high percentage of their songs with one melodic line. It’s the rare song that even has two. When there are two, it’s often more a vocal echo than a true counterpoint. Of course, there’s not a thing wrong with one or two melody lines. But is three-part and four-part vocal counterpoint becoming a lost art in Southern Gospel?
Can you think of any excellent recently written examples of three-part and four-part vocal counterpoint in our genre?