soul Soul music is a music genre that combines rhythm and blues and gospel music, originating in the United States. According to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, soul is "music that arose out of the black experience in America through the transmutation of gospel and rhythm & blues into a form of funky, secular testifying." The genre occasionally uses improvisational additions, twirls and auxiliary sounds. Catchy rhythms, stressed by handclaps and plastic body moves, are an important feature. Other characteristics are a call and response between the soloist and the chorus, and an especially tense vocal sound.