See, the great thing about filk is that other people get their hands on your stuff and add to it. Sometimes they add to it by being MUCH BETTER GUITARISTS than you and sometimes by polishing the lyrics, and sometimes by singing it better, and sometimes by playing it on a completely different instrument, in a different key, with a different harmony arrangment.
Sometimes it’s worse in virtually every way, but it doesn’t matter because it’s still your song being sung and there are people enjoying it even if it isn’t perfect. Especially since it isn’t perfect. There’s nothing wrong with it. We are fulfilling our birthright as singing primates, it’s what we DO, and we don’t get to do enough of it because of the ever escalating pressure of commercial culture and the drive for perfection.
So if I actually MEMORIZE one of Lady Miss Banjola’s tunes, and then, having sung it numbers of times, decide to add a verse, not only am I within my rights, I know without asking that she’d say, fill your boots, and don’t claim to have written any note or word of that which is mine. Every song I have written, even the most desperately personal, that I scarcely ever sing in private let alone in public anymore (like three of swords, I never ever sing that song aloud any more), is still open to that kind of creative input. The thing about a good song is that other people want to, and will continue to want to, sing it. Sometimes they feel that way about bad songs too, which is good otherwise nobody would ever sing my stuff when I wasn’t in the room.
When you’re a filker, and people start singing your songs when you’re not around, you are still there. Your presence may be ghostly and insubstantial but you are still in the room. The brain that shaped the notes and sharpened the jokes and knitted the ideas and the scansion together in a neat and memorable package, that is still in the room. It’s a wonderful feeling, knowing that it is happening from time to time.
Anyway, I am happy with the verse. It follows the theme of the song; it covers a situation that fits in with the other verses and doesn’t repeat; the tone of the lyrics is similar. But… I still think I’ll run it by her before I publish.
3 thoughts on “New verse for someone else’s song”
Go right ahead! I was delighted by it. Sorry, my email inbox is an unmitigated disaster and replies are taking twelve years at the moment. 🙂
Here’s the link to the original song, followed by my new verse.
I’d like to get caught doing something on CCTV
Which gets leaked to the internet, dispersing virally
They’d spell my name right, I’d be part of global entertainment
Too bad this notoriety won’t come with any payment.
But it’s just so nice when someone knows your name.
Your inbox will be always full
Though you won’t be employable
It’s just so nice when someone knows your name.
The new verse goes second to last btw.