Why does singing in the shower sound better?

My conditioned air is broken by Éole Wind, on FlickrSinging in the shower is undeniably great fun. Even those of us who don’t make a habit of singing can’t resist the occasional bathroom warble. Perhaps it is the comforting hot water pouring over your body that makes the experience so gratifying. Perhaps it is the reassurance that you aren’t performing to anyone other than yourself… hopefully. Or could there be another reason?

Clive Stocker, our resident music know-all, thinks it may be something to do with the acoustics. It turns out that the shower is the perfect place for singing rehearsals…

“The upper frequencies of the voice, particularly between 2khz and 4khz are particularly pleasing to the ear. Singers train themselves to make sure that these frequencies are particularly loud in their voices. By using certain singing techniques it is possible to produce a tone which is rich in these frequencies. “

“Some environments are particularly good for preserving these frequencies for both the singer and a listener. One such place is definitely a tiled bathroom. Many environments absorb these frequencies, meaning that a singer does not get the 2khz and 4khz band of frequencies coming back to their ears. For example, softly furnished rooms with heavy carpet and curtains can sound and feel dead to the singer.”

“Bear in mind though that the shower room surfaces are very reflective to all the other high frequencies above 4khz – which is good if you’re listening to vocals, but is not so good for a drum kit and guitars!”

“So my advice is to only sing in the shower and leave the band outside!”

Answer by Clive Stocker

Question received from website

Image credit: Éole Wind, on Flickr

Article by Clive Stocker

April 4, 2014

Clive Stocker lectures on music performance in Bath, UK, and is the author of How to become a Confident Musical Performer. You can read his blog here.

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