Songs by Steve Savitzky

portrait by Kelly Freas

This directory contains (mostly filk) songs by Steve Savitzky [bio] You can find concert recordings at ../Concerts. Recently I've been re-organizing this page.

New! Printable songbook:

If you want to print my complete songbook (I have no idea why anyone but me would want to, but it seemed like the right thing to provide), you will find it here, in Songbook.pdf.

It is laid out for two-sided printing on (US letter-sized paper), so you won't have to turn a page in the middle of a song. You'll also use half as much paper that way. If you prefer to view it on a screen, most (all?) PDF viewers can render it with two pages side-by-side.

The typesetting is done using a collection of software tools called MakeStuff; it also builds the HTML song pages on this site. It's open source, so feel free to use it for your own projects.


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.
I also wrote Rainbow's Edge [ogg] [mp3] and sang it at Dad's memorial service. Honestly, I don't think it's nearly as good as "Stuff", but my Mom likes it.
For Amy [ogg] [mp3]
was written for my stillborn daughter Amethyst, and will be on my next CD, Amethyst Rose.


Ninety-Five Years
was written for, and performed at, my mother's 95th birthday party.
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.
The Toolmakers [ogg] [mp3]
isn't a memorial either; it's a tribute to all the toolmakers, from flint-knappers to software developers, who together have built our world.
Our tools tamed wind and water, then brought the age of steam
The lightning does your bidding now, your midnight cities gleam.
We've probed the depth of space, and seen where human eyes are blind,
And built of sand and logic tools to aid the human mind.

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.
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. Black humor, as noted above.
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 has a nice a capella cover on her CD Plus ça Change. There are others floating around. This may be the first song about computers that wasn't meant to be funny.
Ship of Stone [ogg]
by Don Simpson is one of the greatest filksongs ever written -- I get to say that because I didn't write it. This version was recorded at Baycon 2006, with me on vocals and guitar and Callie Hills on flute. It won the Pegasus award for Best Classic Filk Song in 2019 -- it's about time.

Of note:

Wheelin' [ogg] [mp3]
was written partly as a challenge, but mostly to help convince my sister that it's okay to use a wheelchair when you need to, even if you don't like think of yourself as disabled.
The River [ogg] [mp3]
was written, recorded, and burned to a CD in time for Valentine's Day in 2008. Some people have called it my best love song. You know who you are.
Eyes Like the Morning [ogg] [mp3]
On the other hand, there's this love song. One of my tests for a good song is that it can make me cry while I'm trying to sing it. Now that Colleen is gone, this qualifies.
A Talk with the Middle-Sized Bear [ogg] [mp3]
The Middle-Sized Bear is a character out of science fiction: the section “Conversation With the Middle-Sized Bear” in Cordwainer Smith's novella, Mark Elf. For several years I've used it to refer to the aspect of my personality that is, so people have told me, comfortable to talk to and be around.
A Tribute to the Middle-Aged Bear
Naomi is a dangerous person to know.
Windward and Where the Heart Is
So am I, apparently.

Song Index

Note: This index contains lyrics for 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. Other songs in my repertoire have brief entries, which sometimes acquire notes and links to lyrics and performances elsewhere.

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. I use it when I'm writing blog posts.


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.