Filking

After my post about music, I received indignant feedback about the lack of information about filking.  Filking is apparently the ancient art of taking existing music – traditionally folk but it’s crossed over into other categories – changing the words to make a geek song.  I’d heard the word ‘filking’ before the national convention in June this year, but I didn’t know what it meant.  At the natcon I started my learning journey.

Here are some examples of filking I’ve found recently.  The first one was linked by Boing Boing and everyone is linking the second so I can’t remember who linked that first.  I first saw it early yesterday morning when only about 200,000 people had seen it 🙂

The below songs are probably not filking but I’m including them anyway.

This is NSFW and could cause offence to some people.

Thanks to Chloe Webber (@LustfulSloth on Twitter) for reminding me of this filking gem from Weird Al

Update:  More geek music also thanks to @LustfulSloth on Twitter


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8 Comments

    1. I assume you mean this song, Bad Romance: Women’s Suffrage on YouTube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IYQhRCs9IHM. While it’s the same idea in principle I doubt it’s filking in this sense, because it’s a parody video telling a historical story. Are there any experts out there prepared to comment?

  1. http://www.echoschildren.org/ they do a few filking things
    I’m a big fan of Honor Harrington and was told about these guys for two songs, No Quarter, and Fair was the Blossom, their song list has a lot of other songs in there. I first heard about Filking when I went to Worldcon in Melb, but was too afraid to go 😛 ( and I didn’t know any songs to sing )

  2. It’s nice that you can find filks on-line now. I can remember when the only way you could get it was in smeone’s songbook or on tape or, of course, you could write your own. I wrote a few, years ago, but nothing classic, like that sung by Leslie Fish ( Starwind Rising and other albums and my favourite song “Banned From Argo”) and the British singer Linda Short. Even writers, e.g. Poul Anderson and Gordon R. Dickson wrote and performed filk songs. There’s a whole rich, vibrant culture around it. I really miss all the filking I remember from my early days in fandom! (Sniff!)

  3. Okay, finally had a proper look (can’t do this on iPad for fear of chewing up bandwidth. All clever (and what a great idea, educational filking, though if I tried to sing to my students they’d be sending me up forever!) and I loved the George R.R. Martin song too. But all very professional. For my money, the only one I can imagine anyone singing along with at a con in the traditional way is the Star Wars one to the tune of Bye Bye Miss American Pie. BTW, if you go to Youtube and look up the Dr Who theme, you’ll find a wide variety of hilarious interpretations, from guitars to a capella humming by one person with himself on several screens.

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