Filksongs by Steve Savitzky

portrait by Kelly Freas

This directory contains filksongs by Steve Savitzky [bio] You can find concert recordings at ../Concerts.

Short Index

Short index, with one line per song. Includes short file names, links to printable PDF files (with chords), HTML, Ogg Vorbis and MP3 audio files if present, and approximate timings.

Note: The index contains all songs in my repertoire for which I have permission to post lyrics and, where applicable, audio on the web. That includes both public domain material, and a few songs for which I have obtained explicit permission.

Note: The HTML files are automatically generated by a Perl script, and will almost invariably look a lot worse than the PDFs. They're improving, but slowly.

Memorials and tributes:

Ninety-Five Years
was written for, and performed at, my mother's 95th birthday party.
Keep the Dream Alive [ogg] [mp3]
was originally written in 1986 for the Challenger. It has (unfortunately) recently been updated, and a new verse added, for the Columbia.
     If you need comic relief and have a high tolerance for black humor, check out Thrill-Seekers' Waltz, and don't say you weren't warned. If you want to record Keep the Dream Alive you can send the royalties to a space-related charity instead of to me. Just drop me a note.
The Stuff that Dreams are Made Of [ogg] [mp3]
was written for my late father. He went to grad school with Isaac Asimov, and introduced me to both computers and science fiction.
For Amy [ogg] [mp3]
was written for my stillborn daughter Amethyst, and will be on my next CD, Amethyst Rose.
Quiet Victories [ogg] [mp3] (Also known as QV)
isn't a memorial, it's a victory march, for all the women in our lives whose quiet courage and fortitude rarely get the recognition they deserve, even from themselves:
Here's to the women, gently brave
Mothers, daughters, sisters, wives,
And to the quiet victories
We seldom notice in their lives.
If you're female and have triggers, you should approach this one with caution -- it probably hits most of them. Colleen usually passes out boxes of tissue paper when I perform it, and they get used. It is, however, the best thing I've ever written.

Prize-winning songs:

Paper Wings
2010 Kazoo Award: ``best dragon song'' at ConChord 23.
Vampire Megabyte [ogg] [mp3]
2008 Kazoo Award: ``Devils and Other Malevolent Spirits'' at ConChord 21.
2001 Kazoo Award: ``HAL 9000 User Unfriendly Computer Filk'' at ConChord 15.
2001 Pegasus Nominee: best computer song.
1990 Kazoo Award: ``Charles Babbage Memorial Hacker's Award''at ConChord 6 1990.
Thrill-Seekers' Waltz
2009 Kazoo Award: ``Recycled Fish'' at ConChord 22.
This was actually written before ``Keep the Dream Alive'', but it was several years before I dared to perform it. Leslie didn't kill me.
The World Inside the Crystal [ogg] [mp3]
1997 Pegasus Award winner: Best Science Song.
The performance linked above is from my CD, Coffee, Computers, and Song!. Kathy Mar's performance on is gone, along with the rest of the former (But here's a nice, fresh, and far too big .ogg for you.)

Of note:

Ship of Stone [ogg]
by Don Simpson is one of the greatest filksongs ever written. This version was recorded at Baycon 2006, with me on vocals and guitar, and the lovely and talented Callie Hills on flute.

Song Index

Note: This index contains all of my songs, plus a few others for which I have permission (or, in the case of public domain, don't need permission) to post lyrics and audio on the web. It used to be my almost entire repertoire, but hasn't kept up with what I perform in groups these days.

Compact index:

This compact index is here so that somebody who already knows the short filename of a song can find a link to it quickly without having to scroll.


License for Lyrics and Music:
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. The licensing legalese for my songs is still unsettled, but the basic license for the music and lyrics is the Creative Commons attribution, non-commercial, share-alike license with a few extra permissions granted to make it more filk-friendly. In particular, if you record your own lyrics and only use my music, you'll only owe me half the usual royalties; permission for mechanical licensing of music only will automatically be granted (but you'll still have to contact me first because that's the way the law works).
License for Audio Files:
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. There no longer appears to be a specific music-sharing license, so audio files for all songs both written and performed by me (when I get around to posting them) are also posted under the Creative Commons — Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International — CC BY-SA 4.0. (I'll try to get permission from other people to license their performances of my songs, and my covers of other peoples' songs, the same way. Trying to license my occasional covers and filks of songs by people outside the filk community promises to be something of a nightmare, so for now I'm simply not going to post any. If you're a songwriter whose songs I cover, and you don't mind my posting them, please let me know. If you're a listener, you'll just have to wait for the CD.)


HTML Formatting:
Since the HTML is automatically generated by a rather stupid PERL script, don't expect the world's best typesetting. In particular, the spacing between verses is horribly inconsistent. This will eventually improve. For an example of what's possible, see the PDF files.
Audio Files:
We prefer to use the free, open Ogg Vorbis format -- it provides noticably better sound than MP3 and is unencumbered by patent restrictions. It's supported by most PC media players and some "mp3"-players. If you don't have one, here's a list of free player software. You might have good luck with jlGui, which is written in Java and so has a decent chance of running almost anywhere. We do provide MP3 files so that you can transfer them to legacy devices like iPods, Macs, and cell phones that don't understand oggs.
For some reason, many people like to play their oggs with Audacity, an excellent cross-platform, open-source sound recording and editing program. I just use it for recording and editing. Being cross-platform it's great for collaboration, and it also makes short work of splitting a concert recording or ripped cassette tape into song files.
     For text editing, I use GNU Emacs. In the past Emacs has been derided for being bloated and slow, but back then 1MB was a lot of memory, and 1MHz was a blazingly fast CPU clock. These days, it's about a tenth the size of the popular Firefox web browser (which, like Emacs, is mostly written in an interpreted language), and I don't hear many people complaining about it.
Note that the indices no longer have links to postscript files, which were eliminated due to space considerations (they took up about 5 Mb at a time when I only had an allowance of 35). If you really want a printed songbook, send me a note at <steve+filk at> and if I get pestered enough I'll think about publishing one. They do have links to PDF's, which are pretty repulsive but easier for most folks to handle than .dvi's.

Coming Soon

Sheet music
I'm a lousy transcriber, so doing this right will probably require a voice-to-MIDI translator. Anyone have one that runs on Linux?
Better formatting
Customized Song Pages
Eventually it will be possible to customize every song's page individually. That will let them include things like illustrations, custom colors, and comments.