Filksongs by Steve Savitzky

portrait by Kelly Freas

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

Gigs and other travel plans

Worldcon 76 August 16-20, 2018 in San Jose.
RainbowCon 3 May 2019 at The Rainbow's North End on Whidbey Island.
Guests: Jen Carlson Midkiff, Tim Griffin;
Toasts: Joshua Kronengold and Lisa Padol

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.
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 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.

oggmp3time Title
mp3 5:05 Another Country
3:37 Big Blue Blues
ogg mp3 2:50 Bigger On The Inside
Black Thursday
ogg mp3 2:36 Bound For Hackers' Heaven
ogg mp3 2:17 Bugs (A brief dissertation on the First Law of Cybernetic Entomology)
Calm Down (It's Only Dirty Diapers)
3:30 Can't Get It Up
ogg mp3 The Cap and Bells
Changing the Baby
2:20 Cicero in the 21st Century
Cryptographer's Anthem
1:35 CyberPunk Blues
DIYpl3 (Do It Yourself patch level 3)
ogg mp3 4:00 Daddy's World
ogg mp3 4:05 Demon Lover
Desolation --- Oh, No!
Dmitri and DMCA
3:00 Emerald Dreams
4:50 Eyes Like the Morning
Fannish Life
Farewell Sweet Lovely Nancy
Ferret Went A-Courtin'
3:30 Filksong Lullabye
ogg mp3 4:15 For Amy
Froggy Went A-Courtin'
ogg mp3 3:21 Guilty Pleasures (Coffee, Computers, and Song)
Hacker Paul
1:51 Hackers
ogg mp3 High Barratry
House Carpenter / Demon Lover
House Carpenter
House Carpenter
ogg mp3 3:30 I Wanna Be a Webmaster
ogg mp3 3:25 Inherit the Earth
ogg mp3 Jabberwocky
John Silicon
ogg mp3 4:18 Keep the Dream Alive
The Little Computing Machine
Little Home Computer
Little Tiny Babies
3:06 Look and Feel Lawsuit Blues
The Mad Hacker of Sunnyvale
2:20 A Meeting in the Wood
The Merry Man and his Maid (I Have a Song to Sing-O)
ogg mp3 7:00 Millennium's Dawn
Monday Morning
The Mushroom Farm
ogg mp3 3:00 The Mushroom Song
Napster Piracy
Ninety-Five Years
Off to Feed the Lizard
Old Time Computing
ogg mp3 The Owl and the Pussycat
2:05 Paper Pings (A Note on the Implementation of RFC1149)
4:30 Paper Wings
5:35 Persistence of Memory
2:45 A Place To Run Free
ogg mp3 The Programmer's Alphabet
2:48 The Queen of Night
ogg mp3 Quiet Victories
ogg mp3 3:55 Rainbow's Edge
ogg mp3 2:39 The Rambling Silver Rose
The Rattlin' Bog
ogg mp3 The River
3:30 Rocket Rider's Prayer
The Shores of the Night
ogg mp3 3:37 Silk and Steel
Sink the Clipper! ( Modular exponentiation and the computational complexity of factoring large numbers)
Small, But...
ogg mp3 4:23 Someplace in the Net
The Song of Wandering Aengus
The Stolen Child
The Store Down in the Valley
ogg mp3 Stuck Here... (Stuck Here on a Starship for a Hundred Years Without No Body Blues)
ogg mp3 4:45 The Stuff that Dreams are Made Of
ogg mp3 2:50 TEOTWAWKI v2.0 (The End Of The World As We Knew It)
Ta(l)king Preorders
ogg mp3 A Talk With the Middle-Sized Bear
Talking Dragon
Talking Fuel
Teddy Bears' Victory
Three COBOL Hackers
Thrill-Seekers' Waltz
ogg mp3 3:06 The Toolmakers
A Tribute to the Middle-Aged Bear
ogg mp3 Uncle Ernie's
ogg mp3 3:41 Vampire Mega-Byte
ogg mp3 Wheelin'
When I was a Lad
2:31 When the Magic Died
ogg mp3 2:15 The World Inside the Crystal
Y2K: Out of the Big Blue Sky

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.

aengus alphabet another babies barratry bbblues bigger black bog bugs calm can-t cap changing cicero crypto cypunk daddys demon deso-no diypl3 dmitri dream emerald eyes fanish ferret filking for-amy froggy guilty hackers heaven house-c inherit jabber lad lcm lfblues little lizard lullabye ma-bear mad magic meeting memory merrymn mfarm mil-dawn monday ms-bear mushroom nancy napster net ninety5 oldtime owl-puss paper paul pigeon preorder queen quiet rainbow river rosie rrprayer runfree shores silicon silk sink small stolen store stuck stuff t-dragon t-fuel tbears teotw three thrill tool uncle vampire wannabe wheelin windward world y2k


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.