By K. Nepsa
We’ve all been there. Enjoying the warm water, while humming to the beat of our own drummers, as our stresses melt away and get washed down the drain with the soap. Everything starts to feel so far away and soon, the groove takes over and you grab the loofah handle and start belting out your favorite tune…and you sound so GOOD! Your inner songbird has been released and you wish everyone could hear your melodic talents.
It turns out, you DO sound good. There is science behind the magic you create. A few things scientifically happen when you sing in the shower that make you the next singing sensation. And a shower stall has all the key ingredients to creating the perfect acoustic environment – for almost anyone.
First, let’s explore some of the physics. You are surrounded by hard, smooth surfaces that don’t absorb sound. This bounces the sound back to you and around the cubicle which makes your voice sound much more powerful. Because the sounds are bouncing around, some of them take longer to reach your ears. That stretches out the sound, making it richer and fuller, so you sound great! The smaller size of your personal concert hall also plays a role. Showers act as resonators, which means they enhance certain frequencies to deepen sound and enhance bass because of their cavity structure.
Also, the proximity of the walls creates what’s called ‘reverb’ – or reverberation. This muffles the sound slightly and evens out any unexpected intonation in your performance. Reverb also means that when you sing, the walls throw back an echo of your vocals, making them sound richer and more ornamented.
The science doesn’t stop there though. There is a psychological aspect to flexing our musical muscles in the shower. Turns out, there’s some science behind feeling that gush of warm water down our backs and being free from all life’s distractions, making you feel relaxed and happy.
Your brain is even triggered to release the feel-good hormone dopamine, which soothes nerves and lifts the spirits.
And as for the singing part – it’s literally in the human condition to sing when we want to release emotion. Opening our vocal cords helps lower stress, boost lung function and even enhance memory.
So, enjoy your own musical snacks by belting out your favorite tune and let your inner songbird fly!
Kyle Forinash and Wolfgang Christian, Reverbation, LibreTexts, Physics, phys.libretexts.org, August 13, 2020.
Kate Beaudoin, Science Explains Why You Sound Better When You Sing in the Shower, MIC, mic.com, January 22, 2015
K. Nepsa has a B.S. in Geology and a Master’s in GIS. She has lived in Arizona, HI, CA and Shanghai, China. Her hobbies include enjoying the outdoors via Jeep, Kayak, horse or foot. She has been a Vail resident since 2005.