Modular harps

On this question of modular harps, it sems pretty obvious to me that
Hohner made some changes to the reed length and width and
particularly the material (now phosphor bronse I think), purely for
the sake of more automated manufacturing. Then they were unable to
successfully rescale the other dimesions (eg reed profile) to adjust
for these changes and get back to the performance they traditionally
had. The reason thay cannot do this is because they basically dont
know how the instrument works (ie in repect of the techniques that
modern playeers use)! I can say this with some authority as I have
talked to them about technical matters through Steve Baker for
several years, but I have been unable to cement a consulting
arrangement because they dont appear to think that any fundamental
understanding is important.
My point is that these matters of how you rescale dimensions when you
change something are matters that can be easily answered by science
you understand the thing. I aggree that scientific appraisal is no
substitute for the musicians apprasal. Usually the sort of subtle
performance issues that concern musicians are too detailed to
include in scientific models which tend to be rather broad brush.
Science is most useful in these *general* sort of design issues. Some
examples are the classic work of Carleen Hutchins in correcting the
scaling principles for the violin family, and the way the Japanese
have been able to produce Saprano Saxes that play in tune for the
first time. These are very *objective* principles.


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