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Can anyone give some background on the origin of the term? I was trying to explain to mundanes this weekend that Hey Sarah Palin was a political filk -- I explained what it was, but kept getting, "Yes, but what does 'filk' mean???" -- Melina 22:57, 20 October 2008 (UTC)

Typo for "folk" music. Trufax!, second paragraph (okay, I know, wikipedia not trustworthy, but that is what I've heard for the past ~30 years, so definitively true or not, it's what fandom believes). --Arduinna 23:01, 20 October 2008 (UTC)
...And you probably wanted that to go on the *page*, didn't you? *headdesk* --Arduinna 23:02, 20 October 2008 (UTC)

Filk and its relationship to parody? What makes a filk a filk?


I was trying to sort out filks and their relationship to other forms of musical parody and such. Also how filk can branch off and become other things/mutate, and do we have descriptions or titles for these other things?

Some topics that came to mind as I thought about all this, and what constitutes a "fanwork" and how do we define fan ---

1) Weird Al Yankovic. Is he a filker? He uses an existing song, transforms it into something else. He is also someone who does it for-profit, and he requires the permission of the original material's creator. He is also someone who performs and reaches for a very large, mainstream audience. Yankovic produces both "filks" to listen to, but also videos. The visual footage for video is all original, no clips of anything are used.

Weird Al neither identifies as a filker nor denies the label. ( Internet Review of Science Fiction], Aug 2006, "Got Filk" article) Filkers are happy to sing both "Yoda" and "The Saga Begins" at filksings, and acknowledge both as filksongs, without fretting over whether Weird Al is or is not a filker. Elf (talk) 03:14, 15 September 2016 (UTC)

2) this thing by "The Hillywood Reporter: "Sherlock Parody". It is "to the tune of" Macklemore's "Thrift Shop," is labeled a "parody," has the permission of all previous content creators, is for-profit, and aims for a large audience. You could listen to this with your eyes closed, but it really relies on the visuals. The visual footage is all original, no clips of anything are used. Is it a filk? Are the creator's fans, and does that matter, and is this a fanwork?

3) Vulcan Face, a audio and visual. It is a filk done to the tune of Lady Ga Ga's "Poker Face." Created by a fan, it is not-for-profit, uses clips from Star Trek. It is difficult to know how much exposure the fanwork's creator would be comfortable with (aka who is the audience? I am reminded of the fan vid "Closer" and the challenges of that vid "going viral" to a non-fannish audience). One could experience this fanwork with only audio; the visuals add to it but may not be required.

Again, simply brainstorming. What are others' thoughts and should some of these topics be on the main filk page? Or not. --MPH (talk) 15:55, 13 September 2016 (UTC)

I posted here and am copying the responses below
[Carbonel]: Not quite sure how to post there, but here are some of my thoughts. Feel free to repost. (For what it's worth, my experience with filk is primarily in the SF/fantasy convention world rather than (for this particular subject) in media fandom.)

1. Filk isn't all parody. It isn't even all "to the tune of." It may have started that way once upon a time, but these days there's a lot of SF/fantasy-themed original music. And then there's Bob Kanefsky, who made of career of parodying filk music -- does that make it second-order filk?

2. The discussion of whether Weird Al is a filker is very similar to any discussion of whether TV shows with canonically gay pairings count as slash. There's no one right answer. Me, I'd be happy to co-opt his "The Saga Begins" as filk, while leaving a lot of his other parodies outside the box.

3. The Wikipedia entry for "filk music" (referenced in the 2008 Fanlore comment) as of 9/13/16 appears to be accurate and reasonably nuanced.