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Filk Music: Home

Guide for finding resources on filk music.

What is Filk Music?

Filk is a musical genre often performed at sci-fi conventions in which songs have a science fiction or fantasy theme; many filk songs sound like music of the folk revival of the 1950s and 60s. The term "filk" supposedly originated as a typographical error for "Folk Music" in an article about science fiction songs. While many filk songs are sci-fi or science-related, some cover other topics and occasionally are performed in non-folk styles.

The genre originated in the early 1950s and filk songs have been recorded since the early 1970s. While there are some newly-composed filk songs, many are lyrics set to well-known songs so that everyone at a filk gathering can sing along. 

The BGSU Music Library and Bill Schurk Sound Archives has a large collection of filk materials, including scores, periodicals, fanzines, and books, as well as LPs and cassettes, produced both privately and commercially. 

Basic searching for Filk materials

If you are searching for filk material, you can search our online catalog for the subject heading Filk music.

Using the related subject headings Science fiction -- Songs and Music and Star Trek -- Songs and Music can return a more complete list of resources. 

To narrow your search, you may limit the searches to return only sound recordings, books, musical scores, or periodicals.

Filk-ers talking about themselves

The filk community, like many fan groups, maintains an active online presence, runs their own conferences, promotes and helps to publish filk materials, and honors prominent filk performers. 

While there are many filk resources on the web, two particularly merit further exploration for researchers or performers interested in learning more about filk.

Interfilk is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting filk music and supporting filk conventions, which occur regularly in several areas of the United States, as well as Canada, Great Britain, and Germany.  

The Filk Hall of Fame website contains information about filk, information about the Filk Hall of Fame history and induction procedures, and profiles of the Hall of Fame inductees beginning in 1995. 

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This guide was created by Susan Goldstein, former Acquisitions and Serials Supervisor at the Music Library and Bill Schurk Sound Archives.

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Angela Pratesi
Subjects: Music