SOAS University of London

Department of Music, School of Arts

Christian Poske

BA and MA Instrumental Music (Sitar), Diplomas in Bengali, Hindi and Urdu language (Rabindra Bharati University, Calcutta); Senior Diploma (Sitar) (Prayag Sangeet Samiti, Allahabad)
  • Teaching
  • Research


Christian Poske
Christian Poske
Email address:
Thesis title:
Continuity in Change: A Restudy of Arnold Adriaan Bake’s research on the devotional and folk music and dance of Bengal 1925-1956
Year of Study:
Internal Supervisors

External Supervisors

Dr Janet Topp Fargion


Christian is a PhD candidate and AHRC scholar conducting his research at the SOAS Department of Music and the British Library Sound Archive.

PhD Research

In the course of my PhD research, I evaluate the extant audio recordings, silent films, photos, transcriptions, letters and notes of the Dutch musicologist Arnold Adriaan Bake who conducted several years of fieldwork in the Bengal region between 1925 and 1956. Sections of this material are at SOAS, the British Library Sound Archive, the Berlin Phonogram Archive and Leiden University. The archival work supports my method critique of Bake’s research. Subsequently, I revisit original recording locations in Jharkhand, West Bengal and Bangladesh to assess continuity and change in performance practice and sociocultural setting of select genres, focussing on baul, kirtan, rabindrasangit, jarigan, and Santali music and dance. Through my fieldwork, I seek to explore the relevance of Bake’s recordings to cultural heritage communities and to update rudimentary sections of documentation with their support. Finally, I also aim to give an outlook on the contemporary practice of corresponding music traditions in the United Kingdom.


  • Poske, Christian, and Richard Widdess (2017) “Arnold Adriaan Bake (1899-1963), Pioneer of South Asian Ethnomusicology.” SOAS Centenary Exhibition Catalogue, London: SOAS.


  • “Arnold Bake’s Study of Rabindrasangit and Kirtan: Participant Observation in Early Ethnomusicology.” British Forum for Ethnomusicology and Royal Musical Association Annual Research Students’ Conference, “Exploring Musical Practice”, Canterbury Christ Church University, 5–7 January 2017.
  • “Musical Homelands: The British Bengali Diaspora and the Songs of Rabindranath Tagore.” CHASE Encounters Conference, University of Sussex, 29 November 2016.
  • “The Bake Collection of the British Library Sound Archive: Repatriation and Engagement with Cultural Heritage Communities.” British and Irish Sound Archives Conference, Ulster Folk and Transport Museum, Cultra, 18-19 November 2016.
  • “The Bake Collection of the British Library Sound Archive: Global Perspectives on Historical Sound Recordings from South Asia.” SOAS South Asia Institute Conference, “The Past Before Us: Heritage and History in South Asia”, SOAS, University of London, 5-6 September 2016.


  • British Library Sound Archive
  • British Forum for Ethnomusicology
  • International Council for Traditional Music
  • British and Irish Sound Archives
  • Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute
  • Muktobodha Centre for Indological Studies and Research


  • Ten years experience of teaching Indian classical music as a freelance musician


  • Historical Indian musicology
  • Indian classical music
  • Adivasi music and dance
  • Indian diasporic music
  • Central Asian and Middle Eastern music
  • Audiovisual archives