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Filk Music

Updated on March 9, 2012

Daddy's Little Girl

What in the world is filk?

Filk music originated in the 1950s when science fiction fans would gather at a convention for a sing-along. The word filk derives from folk. Apparently, there was a typo in the program flyer, and a new musical genre emerged!

Hymn to Breaking Strain

What is a filksong?

A filksong is often a parody of an existing song. While filksongs (or filks, for short) all contain original content, there is usually some well-defined relationship to an already existing artistic work. Sometimes a filksong puts new words to an already well known song, as is the case with many of my own contributions in A fistfull* of Filk and The Blake Bunch. In other cases, words from an old poem are set to new music. Leslie Fish's The Undertaker's Horse is a collection of Rudyard Kipling poems for which Fish supplied the music. Sometimes both the words and the music are original, but the song is based on a story written by somebody else. Daddy's Little Girl, an original filk by Julia Ecklar, has all new words and music, but it was inspired by Firestarter, the novel by Stephen King.

There can even be filks of filks. In Eternal Flame, which you can view below, Julia Ecklar is singing Bob Kanefsky's words to a filk of her own song, God Lives on Terra.

Eternal Flame on You Tube

Another common theme in filking is space exploration. The video below is a colorful take on Leslie Fish's classic song about the space race.


Fire in the Sky

Witnesses' Waltz

Filk music tends to have a pro-science slant. "The Word of God", sung by Kathy Mar, deals with this issue.

The Word of God

What if we had no moon?

In the link to Speculative Grammarian below, you can see the words to my filk of a Leslie Fish classic.

Old Time Religion

"A Pict's Song" by Rudyard Kipling

Favorite Filk Singer

Who is your favorite filk singer?

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Filk writers

Who is your favorite filk lyricist and/or composer?

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What is a Filksing?

Filkers sit in a bardic circle at gatherings called filksings, and they take turns to pick, pass or play. No matter the musical ability of the filker, everyone is given a chance to participate. When his turn comes around, each filker can perform an original song, or a song written by someone else, or he can request someone else to sing for him. Unlike concerts, where the audience is expected to sit by passively and only applaud at the end, a filksing is a highly participatory event. Even when it is not their turn to perform, filkers often join in the chorus. Filking evokes a spirit of community, where all are artists and all are audience, and nobody notices where the one begins and the other ends.

(c) 2008 Aya Katz

Julia Ecklar -- A Superstar Among Filkers

Leslie Fish: Mineral Rights


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    • Aya Katz profile image

      Aya Katz 6 years ago from The Ozarks

      I have new interview with Leslie Fish on my YouTube channel.

    • Aya Katz profile image

      Aya Katz 9 years ago from The Ozarks

      June, glad you like. It's one of my favorites!

    • June Sun profile image

      June Sun 9 years ago from Alberta, Canada

      I somehow got touched by the song 'The Word of God'...I like it.