Definitions

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. About or inspired by science fiction, fantasy, horror, science, and/or subjects of interest to fans of speculative fiction; frequently, being a song whose lyrics have been altered to refer to science fiction; parodying. (However, much filk music is original rather than parodic.)
  • n. Filk music.
  • n. Filk song.
  • v. To perform filk music.
  • v. To participate in a filk circle, including singing along.
  • v. To write a parody of (a song). Compare noun in construction "filk of...".

Etymologies

Originally "filk music" was a typo for "folk music" in a never-published essay on the influence of Science Fiction and Fantasy on folk music. Its first known deliberate use was by Karen Kruse Anderson in Die Zeitschrift für Vollständigen Unsinn (The Journal for Utter Nonsense) #774 (June 1953), for a song written by the well known science fiction author Poul Anderson. There are circles of filk-singers internationally, at conventions and other gatherings of science fiction aficionados. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • One of the generally-accepted classes of filk is “songs about fandom and/or the experience of being a fan”.

    Kristine Kathryn Rusch » Janis Ian’s “Welcome Home”–for true fans everywhere

  • Nonscientific survey of 62 respondents. 1/3 were involved in filk for more than 20 years. 62% of men worked in a technical field, while only a small percentage of women did.

    Archive 2009-04-01

  • In today's Wired News, a report I filed on "filk" -- scifi-themed folk music performed by science fiction/fantasy fans and tech-heads.

    Boing Boing: August 28, 2005 - September 3, 2005 Archives

  • We’re all talking about the same types of creative play, but maybe the different methods of expression have different distributions — relatively older in filk, and perhaps relatively younger in RPGs.

    Archive 2009-04-01

  • Same with the music ... we don't have 'filk' so much as an accoustic music space that has filk, comedy, trad, folk, whatever scheduled throughout the weekend.

    Are Science Fiction Conventions Dying?

  • There doesn't seem to be a precise definition of "filk," but as I understand it, it is folk music with science fiction or fantasy roots.

    Filk

  • With its heavy sci-fi themes, this isn't folk -- it's "filk," a distinctive genre that took root on folk's fringes about two decades ago and is now gaining broader attention thanks to internet radio and web downloads.

    Boing Boing: August 28, 2005 - September 3, 2005 Archives

  • Panelists introduce samples of their 10 favourite science-fiction/fantasy songs from outside the filk world, from Charlie Poole to the Flaming Lips.

    i've seen the lights go down on broadway.

  • First one goes to the person who suggests the best SFF-related song (mainstream music, not filk, please).

    i've seen the lights go down on broadway.

  • One reason might be the plethora of professional Oz music — can filk compete with “Over the Rainbow” or “Beautiful Green Peanuts”?

    Learning to Speak Fannish

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Comments

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  • filk, or filk music, is folk music written by and for fans of science fiction and fantasy. It is usually performed live at SF conventions. "There's a filk concert tonight in the con hotel lobby." "She mostly sings traditional English ballads and 60's folk, but she's recorded an album of Star Trek filk."

    A filk, or filksong, is a song in the filk genre. "He's already written a filk about the new Star Trek movie."

    Many filk songs, particularly those from the early years of filk (1950's thru 70's), use the music and structure of existing songs, and sometimes even many of the words, hence an alternate meaning of "filk" as a noun is a creative work (usually but not necessarily a song) that is based on a similar existing work. This type of filk is often a parody of the original song, but can be a non-parody adaptation. "'Fool to feed the drive' is a filk of Cindy McQuillin's song 'Fuel to feed the drive'." Filk in this sense can be used as a verb, to filk: "Kanef filked 'Velveteen Rabbit' into a song about necrophilia."

    June 13, 2009

  • Filk comes from filksong, which was originally a typo for folksong. It refers to songs written about science fiction and science fiction fandom. Usually these are new words to an old tune. Weird Al Yankovic's song about Anakin Skywalker to the tune of Don Maclean's Bye Bye Miss American Pie is a perfect example (except that it is actually commercially available, generally filk is amateur). Filk can be used as a verb meaning to sing filksongs.
    I'm going down to the music room to filk for a while.

    June 11, 2009

  • A musical culture, genre, and community tied to science fiction/fantasy fandom, active since the early 1950s but more popular primarily since the mid-1970s. Very generally, it's folk music, usually with a science fiction or fantasy theme.

    Just discovered this word--and the culture. Clearly another Loop I'm out of. ;-)

    October 13, 2007