The Shower factor: Why singing in the shower sounds so great

Hi, My name is Adam and yes, I confess I am a shower singer. I like to sing….. a lot. And while my off key ad libs sound horrible anywhere else, the private sanctum which is the shower always brings out the best my singing has to offer.

If you are like me, and have dabbled in a bit of the old singing in the shower, you have probably noticed it too. In the shower, you can hit every high note, belt out any melody, sing like you deserve to be standing on stage at Rod Laver Arena. But why is that? Is it a psychological thing? That we sing better with no one around? Well, unfortunately no. Turns out it is to do with the shape of the shower and what it is made up of.

Source: Wiki commons

Most showers are made up of tiles, or other hard non-absorbent surfaces. When we sing, or in fact make any noise, we create soundwaves. These soundwaves then travel from their source until they hit something. In a shower, the soundwaves don’t have to travel very far before they find a wall which they can collide with. Since the walls of the shower are highly sound reflecting, the soundwaves bounce around very quickly and reach your ear. This gives your singing volume, making your voice sound louder and more powerful.

Secondly, there is the reverb effect. This also works off the principle of reflecting sound waves. Reverb occurs when your ear picks up many echoes in a very short time frame. As discussed above when you sing soundwaves bounce around in the shower until they reach your ear. When the soundwaves do this however, they take many different paths. This difference in the distance the soundwave has to travel to reach your ear results in the reverb effect, making your singing sound richer and fuller. The reverb effect also helps to blur your voice, helping to even out variations in pitch. This is especially helpful if you don’t quite reach your notes.

Lastly, there is resonance. Especially prevalent in boxlike showers, certain wavelengths of sound are amplified by the shower itself due to its shape. This occurs when the length of the soundwave being produced matches the length of the shower. For most showers this resonant frequency is roughly 100 hertz. This means it will generally amplify bass sounds resulting in a deeper fuller register.

Unfortunately many of these effects can only be applied to those in the shower. Outside of the shower people will hear a much louder but most likely wavering voice. Since most people sing off what they can hear, singing in the shower is probably going to negatively affect your singing and you may end up less in tune than normal. So the moral of the story is singing in the shower may make you sound as good as Beyonce to yourself. Just make sure there is no one else around to hear you!

8 Responses to “The Shower factor: Why singing in the shower sounds so great”

  1. Meagan Lane says:

    I am also a self-confessed shower singer. Whilst it’s upsetting to know I don’t really sound as good as I think I might, I thought it was great to finally learn why this is the case!

  2. Luke Picone says:

    Hi agqlee,
    I really enjoy this topic as it’s just so darn common in life. This post spoke to me in an unwavering pitch that would still have sounded perfect outside of a shower.

    Is it possible to record the singing from inside the shower, like some kind of moist studio, and have the recording sound as good as you hear yourself?

    Consider this a thanks in advance of your reply.

    Your fan,

  3. setiawan says:

    Great post. Now I’ll be more conscious of singing when I’m not in the shower

  4. itay says:

    I am going to be so conscious of singing in the shower now lest my housemates hear my off-key singing! Thanks for letting me know!

  5. ccfeng says:

    Haha, this is great. Now I understand why cats start wailing when I’m in the shower singing; and here I was thinking they were joining in with my awesome voice. 😛

  6. smcnabb says:

    This is my least favourite bit about living in a residential college- communal showers encroaching on my shower singing! A very interesting post 🙂

  7. rfaulk says:

    Cool! Very interesting post. Guess some of us need to take recording equipment into the shower with us if we want to get signed up to a record label.

  8. tranv says:

    I’m quite a shower singer myself, so it was very interesting reading this post. You definitely explained the times I thought I was good at singing whilst showering. Thanks for sharing the theory behind it! 🙂