I agree with you Alan. The shorter melodicas can lead to different avenues of creativity and expression. I’m not worried here with the amount of notes but what notes can and can’t be produced.
I really enjoyed having an instrument that can hit that high C. If it extends two octaves or three below that isn’t as relevant as the notes it has that the others don’t. The same with the bass melodica instruments.
My concern is with the manufacturers loosely throwing terms around that can confuse the consumers and potentially composers and arrangers who are willing to work the melodica into a piece but need to know where it’s tonal limit is.
This is another instance of the melodica not being taken seriously and seen as more of a toy or rudimentary learning tool.
If I go to buy a soprano saxophone I would expect it to be able to cover a certain range of notes whether it was made by Yamaha or Selmer or someone else. Likewise the recorder (which isn’t taken that seriously itself).
If I write a piece of music and score it for a soprano instrument I expect it to be able to hit certain notes and have a certain color of tone. If a player shows up with an alto instrument something is going to be amiss. Even if he has a technique to hit the high notes the quality of sound will be different much like counter tenors don’t sound like female sopranos or fingering the cello at the end of it’s fingerboard doesn’t sound the same as a violin.
It’s probably too much to hope or expect the manufactures to come to an industry standard at this time. We should call them to task for using the terms soprano and alto so indiscriminately.