Dene Music
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Dene Music

The Dene and their direct language relations live in the Yukon, Northwest Territories, British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, as well as some parts of California, and through to the Apache and Navajo lands in the South Central United States. Their music includes modern rock and country songs, jigs and reels, work songs, community dances, numerous kinds of religious songs and lullabies.

Dene folk music uses melodies similar to European scales with the coloration of blue notes. Syncopation is common, as are pulsating vocal styles. Melodies generally follow a descending pattern. Many songs, especially Drum Dances, ended with a vocal glissando and percussion break, along with a spoken thank you (mahsi). Vocables are very common.

Songs are typically composed anonymously, though there are no taboos on anyone writing most songs. Only two composers are well-remembered, Chief Victor (Deline on Great Bear Lake) and Yatsule (born at Tulita in 1879).

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