>[ But why is Ben Franklin's 'Armonica' considered scientific? One
>[ could also sound a saucer bell with a rosined bow. What's the
>[ difference if an organ pipe is designed using scientific methods
>[ versus "cut and try?" -- Robbie
Good question, and I'm afraid that the answer isn't very satisfactory:
the instrument was scientific because it was designed by a scientist,
i.e., a "gentleman" under the old class system. A musician, and
particularly a musical instrument maker, is _not_ a "gentleman" --
he is an artist or tradesman, and would take his meals in the kitchen
with the other tradesmen and servants.
These traditions are persistent. The popular press is still amused
when a scientist designs or even plays a musical instrument.
In my younger days I designed a fairly horrible violin. I could build
a duplicate and probably get some good publicity, because I now have a
doctorate in electrical engineering.
The newspapers would love it: "High Voltage Engineer Designs Improved
Violin." The instrument, with its resonator made of a plastic cup,
would be considered somehow superior to conventional instruments -- but
only by virtue of my academic degrees.
If the same instrument, or a better one, was made by a homeless
musician, it would be considered "folk art," at best.
[ Joshua C. Stoddard demonstrated his self-playing steam calliope in
[ 1856. Nothing like it existed before, but since he was a beekeeper,
[ not an esteemed organ maker, his instrument must be folk art.
[ Nobody ever called a calliope a "scientific musical instrument" --
[ it's too loud for genteel ears! Thank goodness that musical
[ instruments are judged by the music-loving audience, not a
[ gentleman scientist or newspaper. -- Robbie