The table below judges all of the prototypes against the 16 design principles expressed as selective pressures within my own prototype series.


The judgements within the table follow from the assessment provided in the commentaries on each individual instrument, and the mapping should be clear. The harmonic damping simply records the fact that all save Page do not consider the issue within the patent document  — it is not a comment on the damping of the instruments themselves. The judgements are particularly harsh with respect to the playing position (Note the entire row of red against this criterion). This is, of course, not to say that playing position is not considered in these prototypes (it is); it is simply that the criteria are different for these innovators. For the Victorian inventors; Wigand, Back and Young, I believe that the accepted autoharp playing position of the day was simply accepted and followed. The later inventors; Henner, Aronis and Newton prioritized the workings of the mechanism over pianistic adaptation. I fully accept that there is a basic unfairness to assessing these inventions against my own design criteria - the different inventors will of course have proceeded according to their own particular design intent. The merit of this exercise depends on the assumption that my design criteria, which prioritize the playbaility rather than the mechanism is attractive to pianists - it provides the potential of immediate adaptation of known techniques for the left hand at the keyboard.

Lock-in to a sub-optimal interface is a matter of perspective, and depends on two value judgements:

  1. The judgement that a facet is a sub-optimal adaptation (poorly suited to a particular task). In order to arrive at this conclusion, there must be an alternative for comparison
  2. The judgement of what the task of that adaptation is, or ought to be

From pianistic perspective the keyboard position presented in all of the historical designs is a sub-optimal interface in a very real sense. It is my belief that the ReAPH formulation, which places keyboard feel and hand/arm access at the centre of the design constraints really does provide a further balancing in the interface which renders it truly adaptive and attractive to pianists, and to the wider musical community, and that after 120 years of existential obscurity the best years are ahead for reverse action keyboard harps.