Drying Out Music


Does anyone know of an easy way to dry out a music library?

Our rehearsal room - the Legion Hall at Crackington Haven - had a minor flood on Monday evening, you may have seen pictures on the news.

Anyway, apart from changing the venue of our Songs of Praise, scheduled annually for Bank Holiday Sunday on the harbour side at Boscastle, and having to cancel a sausage sizzle on the beach (what beach?) at Crackington Haven, we have escaped ok, but have been left with a third of our library which has been "dampened".

The individual envelopes are drying ok, but the music inside is still a bit wet. I am reluctant to remove every piece (well even my house could not accomodate that) because they may disintigrate.

So the question is tMpers:

Should I lay them all out as individual pieces, or leave them in their envelopes and let them dry naturally together?

Anyone else had this problem?

Alan Lafferty
Band Secretary, St Gennys Silver Band

Brian Bowen

Active Member
Sorry to hear of your plight and hope things improve soon. I tend to think it's best to separate the music carefully that is wet and let it dry flat. There may be a risk of music sticking together if left in envelopes.

Best wishes to St Gennys Silver Band.
I know that to do this you may need something about the size of a school hall or a gym........... but from my own experience - separate ALL the sheets and let them dry. Even doing this will make em a bit "crispy".

If it is a valuable collection of music - contact your local records archive. Your local library will give you a contact number - they for sure will inform you of best procedure. Also from my own experience, they will be more than happy to advise you.

They know about these things.......


New Member
i used the seperate, and put on every radiator in the house (on a low setting) technique.

and then ironing.

sorry to hear of your problem

Naomi McFadyen

New Member
I'd just hang them and let them dry themselves, slowly, rather than force drying them... I wouldn't iron them for a start!!!!

Sorry to hear of the flooding... Having "coming from" that way I was devasted to hear of all the floods...

Best wishes


Active Member
Like the insurance idea, but i would assume some of the music is out of print if there's any old stuff.

I think just letting them dry themselevs is the best bet, but they shuold really be seperated if you can, if not they will dry stuck together, i know that happened after it rained on my folder after an otside gig, so i shuold think they will stick together after a total drenching!



The best thing to do is to seperate the music. If you leave it in the envelopes damp then the music will stick together. Also, another good tip, if the music is several pages long then stick a sheet of plain white paper in between each page. This speeds up the drying, avoids the paper sticking together and most importantly stops the print from running.

I'm a librarian and have had a few experiences of books and journals being damaged by water!

Sorry to hear about your problem though, hope you manage to salvage the music.


Active Member
I had a similar incident a few years ago. I would definitely separate the pages. Even if the unseparated pages don't stick together, they might develop mold or mildew spots, which could render them illegible. Also, they will dry much faster if they're separated. We didn't separate all of ours and two years later some of the packets were still damp in the interior pages.

Dave Euph

I know this is probably not the right time and, but I have relatives who live in Crackington Haven! I went on holiday there about 4 years ago I think, I remember playing tennis with my brother quite a lot. Anyway, a lovely place it was, and a good holiday.

As for the music, my sympathies. I've had trouble with damp music before and it isn't nice. The best advice I can give (which has already been dished out) is that you should seperate it all out and let it dry naturally.

Hope all works out! ;)


Supporting Member
jameshowell said:
Like the insurance idea, but i would assume some of the music is out of print if there's any old stuff.

I think just letting them dry themselevs is the best bet, but they shuold really be seperated if you can, if not they will dry stuck together, i know that happened after it rained on my folder after an otside gig, so i shuold think they will stick together after a total drenching!
Phone your insurance company anyway. They are in touch with specalist companys who can dry the documents properly for you


Thanks very much for your considered advice tMpers, which has confirmed my own "best practice".

Currently there are some three hundred envelopes in my house, containing band sets, some are drying without further intervention, others have required individual separation, and occupy two shelves of my (quite large but inadequate) airing cupboard (thanks to my good wife Di, for being so understanding). The gum on the envelope flaps is the worst culprit, though dog eared Conductors scores seem to suffer as well.

Yes we will contact the insurers, but most sets are irreplaceable, being centuries old, and probably never playable again. Where feasible I will re-write some onto the computer to make them playable, and hope that it will not infringe anyone's copyright - not sure where we stand on this, any views?

No it was not the roof that leaked, but water, and worse mud, that came under the hall doors and saturated the bottom drawer of each of the four filing cabinets storing the music. Hindsight is a wonderful thing, and now we will probably purchase plastic wallets to file the music in.

Our Librarian lives at Canworthy Water where three rivers converge, and she has lost a car, a van, and a lorry to the floods. Her euphonium case floated, instrument inside, but her music was saved only because it was encased in plastic sleeves. The ground floor of her house was completely flooded, but her piano seems to have survived intact.

In Boscastle we are still expecting to hold the "Songs of Praise" for the local community scheduled for Bank Holiday Sunday, but clearly not on the harbour end where we usually hold it. The vicar, quite rightly, thinks that this event will be the start of rebuilding normality, and will be a positive way to bring everyone together.

I am sure that any tMpers in the area would be welcomed to join in the service, though I doubt that we would have any spare music available to play....

Thank you for your help and support at this difficult time, if you have contributed to the appeal, then on behalf of the people of Boscastle, Crackington Haven, Canworthy Water, and North Cornwall a big big "THANK YOU"

Alan Lafferty
Band Secretary
St Gennys Silver Band
Not meaning to make light of your plight, but I read your thread title as meaning that you were looking for the best sort of music to play to get rid of a hangover. Sorry. Hope you sort things out as much as possible. I remember staying at Boscastle youth hostel. Nice place.

Daniel Sheard
Northop Silver
Hi There,

In a former life I was a paper technologist...

I would suggest separating the music while its still wet, and ironing to dry if you want it to be anything like flat! The iron needs to be cool - especially if the music is laser printed, as you'll melt the toner with a hot iron! If the paper has dried out too much to separate, just re-wet it - you're not going to make the situation any worse. The best thing to iron the music perfectly flat would be a trouser press - perhaps take it all down to the local hotel!!

I'm sure by the time you get to the 300th envelope you'll have the technique mastered... Best of Luck!


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