Arnold Bake (1899–1963) was a Dutch pioneer in South Asian ethnomusicology, whose research impressed not only the most renowned Indologists of his time but also the leading figures in the emerging field of ethnomusicology. This long overdue biography sheds light on his knowledge of the theory and practice of South Asian music, as well as his legacy on the intellectual history of ethnomusicology. Bake spent nearly seventeen years in the Indian subcontinent and made numerous, irreplaceable recordings, films and photographs of local musicians and dancers. As a gifted Western musician, he studied Indian singing with Bhimrao Shastri, Dinendranath Tagore and Nabadwip Brajabashi, and successfully performed Rabindranath Tagore’s compositions and South Asian folk songs during hundreds of lecture-recitals in India, Europe and the United States. For the last fifteen years of his life, Bake taught Indian music at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London; he was the first to do so at a Western university. Besides his numerous writings and radio presentations, he advanced his subject through his activities in British and international research associations. The history of ethnomusicology, especially as applied to South Asia, cannot be fully understood without regard to Bake, and yet his contribution has remained, until now, unclear and unknown.
Table of Contents
1. India Calling: The First Journey 2. The Second Journey 3. Western Intermezzo 4. Indian Decade 5. The London Years 6. Finale
Bob van der Linden is a historian of South Asia, with a special interest in music. Among his publications are Moral Languages from Colonial Punjab: The Singh Sabha, Arya Samaj and Ahmadiyahs (2008) and Music and Empire in Britain and India: Identity, Internationalism, and Cross-Cultural Communication (2013). In 2016–2017, he was a writing fellow at the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity in Göttingen, Germany.