Lowboy, I guess that you’re also a mathematician, and you somehow lost me a bit on your solution for the sealing in the over mathematical post.
To be precise, I’ll use a terminology of “reeds-before-pads” (what’s currently implemented, at least on most of the instruments), as opposed to “pads-before-reeds” (your thesis).
I see two major shortcomings to pads-before-reeds:
1. I believe that pads-before-reeds makes the reeds more distant from the musicians lips, hence less control over the reeds. Using the harmonica as an idol design for bending, in the harmonica the reeds are VERY close to the musician lips. So I believe that you’ll lose control rather than gaining more of it.
2. An air-tight chamber is something that no one would give up on. Pads-before-reeds require an air chamber with moving parts in it, as you need the levers connected to the keyboards to be sealed in a way that air will flow only into the correct reed (via its dedicated tunnel). Moreover, such mechanism will probably result in a pad that blocks air from going into a small chamber (the reed’s tunnel), which is way harder than using pads for blocking air from going out of the chamber (which is generally implemented)
Sound wise, I don’t think that you gain any benefit from pads-before-reeds. In reeds-before-pads, the sound is mostly extracted from the open pad, which is very close to the reed. In good designs, sound runs roughly 1cm from the reed to the pad, and then goes out condensed so is can be manipulated (if you wish to). In pads-before-reeds, you can make the distance to the reed smaller before manipulation, but it’s not condensed therefore may be harder to manipulate.
I think that the future is in reeds-before-pads for its clear benefits, but yet sound manipulations can be integrated in several ways. I.e., think of an air dimmer button at the entrance to the air-chamber. Pressing it helps reducing the air flow into the instrument in a controlled way, which may help with bending; think of that as a dedicated bending handle like you have in guitars.