The Dutch composer, Henk Badings, studied mining technology at the University of Technology in Delft, received his degree cum laude in 1931 and worked at the university until 1937. In the meantime he developed his skills as a composer. He was also active with painting, sculpting and writing poetry. The only music lessons he followed were lessons in orchestration with Willem Pijper. Already in the same year of his graduation, his First Cello Concerto was performed at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, after which performances of other works followed quickly.
In 1937 Henk Badings' his violin sonata was played at the International Music Festival in Prague. The next year this sonata and a string quartet were published with Schott in Mainz. He gained public interest in a very short time. In 1934 he was appointed as composition teacher at the Rotterdam Conservatory and the High School of Music (muzieklyceum) of Amsterdam, of which he became director in 1938. In 1937 he decided to dedicate himself to music definitively. From 1941 to 1945 he was director of the Conservatory in The Hague and in 1949 he became a member of honour of the Flanders Academy of Sciences. He was lecturer of composition at the organ academy of Haarlem, lead orchestration courses for conductors in Hilversum, and was from 1961 to 1972 professor at the Musikhochschule in Stuttgart. In 1956 he founded the electronic music studio of Philips in Eindhoven and wrote many electronic compositions in that period of time. Later he taught acoustics and computing science at the Institute of Sonology of the University of Utrecht until 1977. As a guest conductor he went to Australia and the USA. He received commissions to write orchestral works for the centenary celebration of the Wiener Philharmoniker en de 60th anniversary of the Concertgebouw Orchestra Amsterdam, an opera and Psalmensymfonie for the Holland Festival, an overture for the Cork Festival in Ireland, etc. In 1972 he settled as composer in the province Noord-Brabant.
Henk Badings very often used unusual musical scales and harmonies. Already in 1924 he consistently employed the octatonic scale (alternating major and minor seconds); also he used the harmonic series scale from the eighth to the fifteenth overtone. Music based on this scale gives the impression that it is in just intonation, Badings himself called this mode 'lydo-mixolydian'.
In Henk Badings' extensive oeuvre of hundreds of works, the 31-tone music has an important place. Without doubt it can be said that he has made the largest and most important contribution to the Dutch 20th-century 31-tone music. Around 1950 Badings became interested in new tone systems, six- and seven tone modes and the acoustic backgrounds. In 1951 he wrote an interesting treatise for the Royal Flemish Academy of Sciences titled Tonaliteitsproblemen in de nieuwe muziek (tonality problems in new music). After 1951 he wrote a number of compositions for the 31-tone organ in Haarlem and in 1952 he created his first electronic compositions. For the occasion of the 250th birthday of Leonhard Euler he was invited by the Swiss Radio to write a series of 31-tone organ works. His works are characterised by classical form, in melodic as well as rhythmic and harmonic aspect. In 1978 he wrote another treatise for the Royal Flemish Academy of Sciences: Over 31-toon-stemming. In het algemeen en in het bijzonder gedemonstreerd aan de hand van een eigen compositie (about 31-note tuning: general principles and a specific demonstration by means of a composition by the author).