Great discussion all...
I don't think that just versus ET is the important point in using a fretless instrument in modal music. Look at it this way. The music that is primarily harmonic in structure uses ET. The music that is primarily melodic in structure uses just. Huh? My guess is that singers, oud players, fretless guitarists, etc. that are playing in primarily melodic settings aren't limiting themselves to just intervals. Instead, they are using the freedom of being fretless to stretch and compress intervals to cause tension in their performances. Just vs. ET isn' the important point here. Fretted vs. fretless is.
Good point; i also find myself subconsiously adjusting thirds etc to a less sharp interval than ET.
To me , the discussion is almost moot, because we 're dealing with the complications in harmony that arise in ET vs non-ET, and for me,
What's held my interest for a long time in Indian and Middle eastern music, particularly vocal music, isnt harmony, or even the fixed points of a melodic line, but the journey in between
the notes: the arc of a well placed meend, a well defined set of gamaks. I studied with Joe Maneri, who introduced me to his 72 note /per octave system, and that paved my way for a good appreciation of the possibilities of looking at sound as a continuum.
In my own work, If im using harmony at all its usually seconds ( flatted or not),7ths or 9ths. With the fretless i can spread even these close intervals slowly apart or together to create little microtensions and releases. I dont think of that as harmony, but as varying degrees of textural density. Thats not to say i wont use a little western harmony if i need to, but what Im doing doesnt often call for it.
In short, i dont worry about it much
interesting points way back on Carnatic e guitar players and modern filmi songs. True enough, you wont here a modern bollywood song in something like a properly sruti'd Darbari these days, but that doesnt mean it couldnt happen -- filmi composers will just need to rethink how they approach the issue of modern arrangements and orchestration. From what little Turkish pop Ive heard - and Edward Powell, perhaps you can expand on this -- they seem to be able to keep maqams intact throughout a modern arrangement, or else float the vocal line on top of it regardless
Ive heard a few BW filmi songs take that kind of approach, but not many.
great points about the partials and the critical band etc... all of that forms the basis of for Western classical orchestration ( if you were a comp. major you got that stuff), whether scientifically mapped or not . - knowing that if instruments x and y played a certain pitch or harmony together youd get a unique overtone mix different from either instrument by itself and different from instruments x and z. I remember reading that Varese actually worked and charted a lot of that out in terms of overtone series, but im not sure if thats true or not.