filk

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

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.

Adjective[edit]

filk (not comparable)

  1. (of music) 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.)
    • 2000, Camille Bacon-Smith, Science Fiction Culture,[1] University of Pennsylvania Press, ISBN 0-8122-1530-3, page 38,
      And the permanent exhibit area offers a filk performance on a small stage so that neophytes can sample more esoteric interests.
    • 2006, Robert T. Balder, quoted in Attitude 3: The New Subversive Online Cartoonists,[2] Nantier Beall Minoustchine Publishing, ISBN 1-56163-465-4, page 97,
      I’m also involved in what is called filk music. This is music for and by fans of Fantasy and Science Fiction. […] Filk is nearly as big a part of my creative life as comics, and I have similarly made many friends among the creative people in that community.
    • 2007, Brian Longhurst, Popular Music and Society,[3] Polity, ISBN 0745631622, page 236,
      Music can be very important in fan texts and activities. Fans write and perform songs at gatherings about characters from television shows, not unlike the way that folk songs are sung in folk clubs. This can be seen in the name of this fan form: filk song. According to Jenkins [in Textual Poachers: Television Fans and Participatory Culture], filk songs take their cue from commercial culture. They are about the characters from commercial television series, but ‘Filk turns commercial culture back into folk culture, existing as a mediator between two musical traditions. Its raw materials come from commercial culture; its logic is from folk culture’ (1992: 270).

Noun[edit]

filk (countable and uncountable, plural filks)

  1. Filk music.
    • 1992, Henry Jenkins, Textual Poachers: Television Fans & Participatory Culture,[4] Routledge, ISBN 0-415-90572-9, page 270,
      Filk turns commercial culture back into folk culture, existing as a mediator between two musical traditions. Its raw materials come from commercial culture; its logic is from folk culture.
    • 2006, Gary Hill, The Strange Sound of Cthulhu: Music Inspired by the Writings of H.P. Lovecraft,[5] Lulu.com, ISBN 1-84728-776-X, page 216,
      The style of music generally used for creating filk is folk or popular music. That brings up one of the key points. Most, but not all, filk is created by "borrowing" the music of other songs and creating lyrics to fit the singer's particular circle of fandom.
    • 2006, Robert T. Balder, quoted in Attitude 3: The New Subversive Online Cartoonists,[6] Nantier Beall Minoustchine Publishing, ISBN 1-56163-465-4, page 97,
      I’m also involved in what is called filk music. This is music for and by fans of Fantasy and Science Fiction. […] Filk is nearly as big a part of my creative life as comics, and I have similarly made many friends among the creative people in that community.
  2. Filk song.
    1. In general
      • 2001, Harry Potter Filks
        Welcome to Harry Potter Filks, with nearly 3400 filks (including several dozen full-length musicals) by more than 250 authors from at least five continents, all on Rowling-related themes. ... Providing a magic beyond all that Dumbledore does here since August 2 2001. Most recently updated April 29 2010.
    2. In the construction "filk of...": a filk song written as a parody of, or in the form of and with reference to, another song (which need not itself be a filksong). Compare verb transitive sense.
      • 2006, citation in the Filk Hall of Fame
        He has recently started to accompany himself on the piano, and created such wonderful songs as "The Soul" (filk of "The Ship") and "Internal Knight".

Verb[edit]

filk (third-person singular simple present filks, present participle filking, simple past and past participle filked)

  1. (intransitive) To perform filk music.
  2. (intransitive) To participate in a filk circle, including singing along.
  3. (transitive) To write a parody of (a song). Compare noun in construction "filk of...".
    • 1997 (?: "July A.S. XXXI") Medieval Melodies for Filking
      However, the practice of filking, of taking an existing melody and providing new, usually topical and/or satirical, lyrics, is in fact the direct counterpart of the Medieval practice of writing contrafacta.

See also[edit]