Filk music

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Filk is a musical culture, genre, and community tied to science fiction/fantasy fandom and a type of fan labor. The genre has been active since the early 1950s, and played primarily since the mid-1970s. The term (originally a typographical error) antedates 1955.[1]

Contents

Definitions

As the Interfilk What Is Filk page[2] demonstrates, there is no consensus definition of filk.

One definition is based on filk as a genre: filk is folk music, usually with a science fiction or fantasy theme. But this definition is not exact. Filkers have been known to write filk songs about a variety of topics, including but not limited to tangentially-related topics such as computers and cats. The other common definition is anthropological: filk is what is sung or performed by the network of people who originally gathered to sing at science fiction/fantasy conventions. Yet another definition focuses on filking as a community of those interested in filk music and who form part of the social network self-identified with filking. As described later in this article, the origins of filk in science fiction conventions and its current organization emphasizes the social-network aspect of filking.

Whichever definition one chooses, filk is a form of music created from within science fiction and fantasy fandom, often performed late at night at science fiction conventions, though there are now dedicated filk conventions in Canada, England, Germany, and the USA. And whichever definition one chooses, the boundaries of filking are muddy. For example, filking overlaps with the singing and music performed by participants in the Society for Creative Anachronism or at LARPs.

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