PHILIPPE BOLTON

FLUTES A BEC & FLAGEOLETS FAITS A LA MAIN


CONDENSATION PROBLEMS IN RECORDERS


1° Condensation in the windway

Condensation in the windway is quite normal. It is simply caused by the difference in temperature and humidity between the player's breath and the air inside the instrument. The windway is designed to evacuate this during playing.

To prevent too much moisture forming in the windway gently warm the head joint in your hands or in a pocket before starting to play.

If the windway of your instrument clogs, follow the instructions below..

1° If this happens during a piece just suck the moisture out of the windway. This will bring in dryer air and you will be able to continue playing.

2° If you are not in the middle of a piece:

The best way is to take the head off the recorder. Then close the bottom end of the bore with one hand, cover the window with your mouth and blow into the instrument to force the dampness out of the instrument through the beak.

Alternatively you can cover the window with one finger (without touching the labium) and blow sharply into the windway. This method does have the disadvantage of sending all the dampness into the instrument.

Condensation problems can have two different aspects, but in both cases the sound of the high notes is impaired, and low notes can begin to burble.

1° Droplets of water appear, like dew, on the upper surface of the windway, and sometimes on the block as well.

droplets of water in the windway

These drops appear when the wood surface is slightly oily. This can be easily cured with detergent (water and washing-up liquid in equal parts + a little alcohol).

Either take the block out (see the page on advanced operations on the windway) and apply the liquid onto the windway and block surfaces using a cotton bud,, or, without removing the block, use a dropper to let the liquid flow into the window end while blocking the beak end with one finger. Wait for a few moments, then blow it out backwards through the beak while closing the socket with one hand. (see picture opposite)or, without removing the block, use a dropper to let the liquid flow into the window end while blocking the beak end with one finger. Wait for a few moments, then blow it out backwards through the beak while closing the socket with one hand. (see picture opposite)

How to put anti-condens liquid into the recorder's windway with a dropper

2° Drops of water accumulate in the corners of the windway and stay there in spite of attempts to blow them away.

water accumulating in the corners of the windway

The detergent solution is often inefficient in this case because the airflow, which should blow all the moisture out of the windway, is leaving some of it on the sides instead of removing it. Cleaning the windway could be the answer to the problem, but more often than not the instrument would have to be be shown to a specialist repairer to have the windway and/or block adjusted.

2° Condensation in the thumb hole

This is not really a problem, but after playing for some time moisture from the windway can flow into the thumb hole, blocking it temporarily and making high notes difficult to speak. You just need to take the instrument apart and wipe out the bore in the head and the upper part of the middle joint. You will then be able to play again normally.

3° A tip for drying the windway after playing

There is always a lot of condensation in the windway when the recorder is played, and it is a good idea to remove as much of it as possible after playing. This can be done by sucking dry air into the windway through the beak, while closing the bottom end of the head joint with one hand, and then exhaling it outside the recorder. Any excess moisture will form droplets on the end of the beak. This action should be repeated several times for one or two minutes before letting the instrument dry out naturally. Répéter cette action plusieurs fois pendant une à deux minutes, puis laisser sécher l'instrument en dehors de son étui.