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Humidity and humidifiers

March 1, 2013

The joys of working and living in Johannesburg are many (despite the terrible things that have been happening recently) – but the constant battle to please my pianos with a Goldilocks kind of humidity is not a joy at all. They are both thoroughly spoiled, with lifesavers to keep the soundboards happy, and a built-in humidifier in the room, which switches itself on and off (mostly on) as the long hot summer drags on. Said humidifier having a noxious-sounding drone which always seems to be out of tune with whatever I play.

Of course the room becomes positively tropical.  It’s lovely in winter when the outside Imagehumidity is nothing short of living in a desert. But summer is another challenge: it feels like a hothouse as I wilt away at the keyboard. (Sometimes I cheat and switch it off, hoping that I won’t be found out.) I suppose I should be grateful not to live at the coast, where excessive humidity is another whole story and I can imagine mould grows in pianos with very little encouragement.

But Goldilocks was maybe on to a good thing – and so are my dear Steinways. They DO sounds better for living in this environment. No more horrible rattles from a dessicated action sounding like Beecham’s proverbial skeletons on a tin roof. And the tunings hold so much better! Back to practising…in the hothouse!


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