minstrel: Apology

Vanessa Layne dagoura at MIT.EDU
Thu Mar 9 12:08:34 PST 2000

> >Hmmm. . . . Interesting notion. Guess it depends on what you mean by "filk."
> >If you mean non-period lyrics to a non-period tune, in non-period style, I
> >couldn't agree with you more (and this from someone who has had the
> >privilege of having his mouth duct taped shut for far worse).  If you mean
> >doggeral set to period music, I wouldn't cry too much.  But if you mean the
> >time honored (and period) tradition of putting new lyrics to an old tune,
> >either as parody or with a new theme (e.g. "A Mighty Fortress is Our God"),
> >I'm afraid we have disagreement.
> >--ihon
> Contrafacta([sp?] using someone else's melody for your new words) is just
> as period as composing your own.

But filk, as a musical genre, isn't just a contrafact.  First, and
most obviously, there are things which are called filks with purely
original tunes words (heaps of Leslie Fish material leaps to mind).

Secondly, there are many things which are contrafacts which wouldn't
really be considered filks (such a period parody masses).

I think there's been a confusion between the noun "filk" and the verb
"to filk".  While "to filk" means "to make a parody of", not all filks
were filked.

Personally, I run with the operating definition of "fannish folk
music", which seems to more accurately capture what most people mean
by "filk", with "SCA filk" being that sub-genre focusing on SCA-themed

Under that rubric, it becomes clearer that filk isn't *just*
contrafacts.  It's a genre, with its own stylistic rules and fads.

And, unfortunately, the majority of those stylistic rules make filk
non-period in style.

-- Tibicen
   tibicen at carolingia.org

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