Max Katz


MA Ethnomusicology, Spring 2005

PhD Ethnomusicology, Fall 2010


Max Katz specializes in the music of North India. His first book, Lineage of Loss: Counternarratives of North Indian Music (Wesleyan University Press, 2017), draws on a decade of ethnographic and archival research and eight years of musical apprenticeship under the chief musician of a legendary lineage to propound a critical re-reading of modern North Indian music history.

His current book project, “Endangered Melodies: The Classical Instrumental Repertoire of Lucknow,” pursues transcription and analysis of his primary teacher’s inherited repertoire, a corpus known as the Purab Baj, including some 300 gats (instrumental compositions) set in some 150 different ragas (modal structures).

Another book project in progress, “Sitar Business: The Life of Musical Instrument Manufacture in North India,” illuminates the cultural world of the commercial instrument trade in India today, shining light on the laborers, craftsmen, factory owners, and deliverymen who populate a vast yet largely unacknowledged dimension of the North Indian music tradition.

Katz’s research has been supported by Fulbright-Nehru, Fulbright-Hays, the American Institute of Indian Studies, and the American Musicological Society. His broader research interests include jazz music, Marxist theory, postcolonial theory, and popular culture.

Katz teaches courses cross-listed in Anthropology, American Studies, and Africana Studies, including Music of India, Worlds of Music, History of Jazz, Race and Music, Music and Colonialism, American Popular Music, Music in the Liberal Arts, and the Music of India Ensemble.


2017                Lineage of Loss: Counternarratives of North Indian Music

                        Wesleyan University Press, Music/Culture series.

2017                “Music in India.” In Oxford Bibliographies in Music. Edited by Bruce Gustafson. 
                        Oxford University Press. 

2014                “Sites of Memory in Hindustani Music: Yusuf Ali Khan and the Sitar 
                         Shops of Lucknow.” Ethnomusicology Forum 23(1): 67-93.

2012                “Institutional Communalism in North Indian Classical Music.”
                         Ethnomusicology 56(2): 279-298.