In classifying the music performed or played in Las Vegas nightclubs, terms like “house” or “deep house” are used. Though terms applied to popular culture often do not have one precise meaning, here is a listing of what is commonly meant by these descriptors, for those who are new to the club scene. The order is roughly chronological.
Funk started in the late 1960’s as a blend of soul and R&B into a rhythmic dance music with little attention to melody, harmony or lyrics. Much of the time the music dwells on a single chord while different instruments play rhythms that interact with each other. James Brown and Earth, Wind & Fire were early exponents of funk. Funk found its way into discos in the 1970’s and is heavily relied upon for samples in hip-hop.
Fusion applies to the mixture of two or more defined genres in music. Often the term is applied to jazz or rock, where other influences make the music hard to classify. Rock is itself a fusion of blues, country and gospel. Blues-rock, Country-rock.
Techno derives from technology. It is often considered to overlap trance, house and hardcore, but it is distinct. It is electronic music composed for dancing, heavily using percussion and very little melody. Much of the low end is so low and so strong that it is felt as a vibration more than heard. Its origins are in northern Europe in the late 1970’s. In the mid 1980’s, Detroit Techno became popular, causing the genre to have much wider acceptance in the 1990’s.
New Wave usually refers to a more commercially acceptable version of punk rock that was prevalent in the early 1980’s. It was often mixed in with other elements, like conventional rock, reggae, funk and sometimes, ska.
House as a style of music was developed in the 1980’s in Chicago by dance club DJs. It is electronic music, with elements of soul and funk, coming out of the disco era of the 1970’s. Like disco, there is a strong bass underpinning, with electronic effects like sampling and reverb. House bands make full use of the flexibility and range of synthesizers, electric bass, and electronic drums.
Deep house is a variation of house that softens the role of percussion, has a little slower pace, admits of jazz influences, including long, sustained jazzy chords and the use of vocal tracks.
Mash-up is sometimes called bootleg or bastard pop. The basic idea is to make an overlay of music from one song (usually the instrumental) with a form of music (usually unaccompanied vocals) from another. The trick is to make two apparently incompatible works come together to make a third, pleasant-sounding musical piece. Retro is specifically a record label (Retro Alternative) but more generally used to refer to rock ‘n’ roll before the current or recent trend to experimental rock called “post modern rock.” If it’s not “post-modern,” its probably “retro.”
Trance is electronic music that came out of the 1990’s, probably a fusion of house, ambient and techno. It includes synthesizer phrases with melodic lines, rising and falling in volume. It is characterized by rhythmic and melodious motifs, repeated over and over, such as might create a trance.