Filk is music by and for science fiction and fantasy fandom. Often performed at sci-fi conventions by people with little talent, but a healthy respect for each other's lack of talent.

Almost anything is game for filking -- political songs, space songs, cat songs, story songs -- everything from parodies of popular music, to rescanning existing lyrics to new tunes, to completely new lyrics and new music.

People who filk are called filkers; these are some of the most astoundingly intelligent and creative folks you'll ever meet. And some of the most interesting people you'll ever meet, as well. People like Leslie Fish, Bob Kanefsky, Julia Ecklar, Kay Shapero, Mary Creasey, Steve Savitzky, and Kathy Mar... who are mostly libertarian, or at least for freedom.

When filkers get together to sing, it's called a filksing. There are several different styles of filksing -- bardic circle, poker chip bardic circle, khaos (also called chaos), moderated khaos, and variants of these. The basic rules of a filksing are that, when it's your turn, you have three options: pick, pass, or play. To pick means that you choose a song that you want to hear, and others in the filksing sing it for you. To pass means that you pass your turn, and to play means that you will play/perform a song for everyone else participating. The various styles of filksing are basically changes in the way that people are given turns.

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filk /filk/ n.,v.

[from SF fandom, where a typo for `folk' was adopted as a new word] Originally, a popular or folk song with lyrics revised or completely new lyrics and/or music, intended for humorous effect when read, and/or to be sung late at night at SF conventions. More recently (especially since the late 1980s), filk has come to include a great deal of originally-composed music on SFnal or fantasy themes and a range of moods wider than simple parody or humor. Worthy of mention here because there is a flourishing subgenre of filks called `computer filks', written by hackers and often containing rather sophisticated technical humor. See double bucky for an example. Compare grilf, hing, pr0n, and newsfroup.

--The Jargon File version 4.3.1, ed. ESR, autonoded by rescdsk.

Filk is an obscure Seinfeld reference. Kramer's phone number, at least in "The Pool Guy," is 555-FILK, which is one number off from MovieFone (555-FILM). When he gets constant wrong number calls from people looking for the movie service and dialing him instead, he pretends to be the touch tone movie information service. However, he decides to stop doing this when the MovieFone guy threatens to break down his door. (Supposedly. Being as the episode actually ends then, we can't be quite sure, but he certainly has a door in the next episode. This could lead to an argument about continuity but that's a whole 'nother node.)

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