by Linda Ratcliff
What kind of music did the Pilgrims like? Plymouth Rock!
Why did the guys let the sweet potato join the band? So they could have a yam session!
What is the most musical part of the turkey? The drumsticks!
Likewise, humidity will affect your dulcimers. Wood gains and loses moisture until it’s in sync with the air around it. When the air is humid, a piece of wood will swell as it gains moisture. When the air is dry, the wood will shrink as it loses moisture. This process happens fairly quickly with thin pieces of wood, such as dulcimer soundboards and backs, and if they get too dry, they can crack.
If you have started running the furnace already, the climate in the house may have become very dry. The widely accepted safe range for wooden musical instruments is between about 40% and 60% relative humidity. The only way to know if you’re in that range is to measure it by keeping a hygrometer near your instrument. (I found inexpensive ones on Amazon.) Also, I suggest that you consider purchasing a room and/or case humidifier for the good health of your precious instruments.