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Do You Really Sing Better In The Shower?

Do You Really Sing Better In The Shower?


[ ♪ Intro ♪ ] Remember when you had that impromptu jam session in the shower, belting out the lyrics to “Like a Prayer”? You know you nailed it. But then, when you tried to recreate the moment with your friends during that long road trip, you were less Madonna and more… wet cat. So if it seems like some kind of magic happens to your voice when you step into a steamy stall, that’s because bathrooms usually do have some pretty wonderful acoustic properties. So you really do sound better to yourself
when you sing in them. Shower stalls tend to be made of smooth, hard surfaces like tile. When sound waves hit them, they’re reflected back at you rather than absorbed or dispersed. And the reflected sound amplifies your voice—basically, cranking up the volume. But your voice isn’t just louder. Because the various walls of your shower are different distances from your mouth, some of the sound waves from your singing travel slightly farther, so they take a fraction of a second longer to get back to your ears. And, because the walls are made of smooth, hard surfaces, the waves continue to bounce around from wall to wall, so you continue to hear quieter reflections of the sound for longer than you would in, say, your living room. This effect, called reverberation, gives you the impression that the note you sang lasted a little longer than you actually held it. Reverberation can also smooth the transition between notes as the reflecting waves overlap when they reach your ear, so it’s not as noticeable when you’re off key. A lot of karaoke microphones are actually designed to take advantage of this by adding reverberation electronically. Isn’t that so nice of them to make sure you don’t completely embarrass yourself onstage? Still, your shower performance sounds even better than your karaoke rendition thanks to another acoustic property of bathrooms: resonance, where sound waves line up in just the right way to amplify the sound. In the shower, that happens when the wavelength of a note matches up with the size of the room in a way that makes the peaks of the reflected waves line up. Lots of different notes will resonate in there, but they’ll also combine with other reflected sound waves in a way that cancels out some of the sound. This effect is much more noticeable with the deeper, bass tones because they have longer wavelengths, with more distance between the peaks. So instead of the amplified and muted sounds being distributed all over the room, it’s more like there are a few spots where your bass notes sound either a little muted or totally awesome. The acoustics in the shower are so good that recording artists sometimes use them, too. Weird Al’s first hit single “My Bologna,” was recorded in a bathroom. And the Pixies dragged their equipment into the studio bathroom to get the perfect sound for “Where Is My Mind?” and “Gigantic.” Of course, all of this means that unless you drag your crew into the stall with you, they’re probably never going to hear just how beautiful your rendition of “Like a Prayer” can be. Thanks for asking, and thanks as always to our patrons on Patreon. If you want to help us decide what questions to answer, or get access to a lot of cool stuff that you can’t get anywhere else, head over to patreon.com/scishow. [ ♪ Outro ♪ ]

100 thoughts on “Do You Really Sing Better In The Shower?”

  1. I want to add that a lot of time you're in the shower alone, and have more confidence in your vocal ability since the self consciousness of ''oh, I can't sing well…" goes out the window. The 'stage fright' of having other people judge your singing is removed and you sing from your diaphragm confidently instead of timidly. Kind of disappointed this wasn't included in the video, this is probably the #1 reason that you do in fact sound better in the shower.

  2. I would also like to add that I believe some of the effect might be psychological.

    When you're in a shower (almost universally) alone, you lose inhibition and really go for it. As someone who is classically trained, I can say with certainty that the best singers are usually the loudest. If you're too quiet, that almost always means you're using your "head" voice to sing, which is oft whiny and nasally, as opposed to using the voice "from" your diaphragm, which reverberates significantly more and moves your vocal chords closer to the notes you actually wish to hit.

    Edit: Also the humidity helps prevent your vocal chords from sticking together, further helping prevent sharp or flat notes whilst singing.

  3. Being a musician, it's nice to finally watch a scishow video where I'm not lost as hell about the terminology & content of the video. Thanks for explaining further why bathrooms are great recording booths!

  4. So its because the sound is reverberated ?? So the shower is like artificial resonance ?? Lmao who needs proper singing technique anymore. I really wanna hear SoHyang singing in a bathroom. That would be way too much resonance.

  5. I truly appreciate and enjoy the knowledge. Hard reality is, how long would it take you to have a shirt look like a smooth bathroom wall?

  6. What about a video on the weird theories we have on YouTube that would be interesting and good for the YouTube community?

  7. The real reason is since there's all that reverberation, there's more/clearer feedback for you to work with and adjust to. It's harder to sing when it's harder to hear yourself.

  8. Попробуйте спеть в турецкой бане))))) сидишь один в огромном круглом сооружении с куполом… звук такой что две минуты и ты победитель шоу "Голос" и шаман вводящий в транс целую нацию одновременно

  9. There was a recording studio in Virginia, I think, that used an elevator shaft to achieve this kind of reverberation. They could adjust the amount of reverb by moving the elevator to a different floor. It worked rather well, but I thought it kind of funny that you always had to use their stairs.

  10. I like to try to match the pitch of the various machinery around me as I go about my day. Does anyone else do this?

  11. Bloody hell.. all the damn puns in here…
    SuperCarlinBrothers! Give me a towel to dampen the…. Okay, fine, I got nothin.

  12. I was waiting for the explicit reference to Woody Allen's movie about Rome, and the scene with the lyric singer that was good only under the shower and so they decided to bring the shower on stage 🙂

  13. I think the biggest advantages to singing in the shower would be you can hear yourself really well and the moist air is easy on your throat. Singers will often plug an ear with their hand to hear themselves more clearly over the music to stay in tune. The effect here is similar. Try it yourself, it really helps. Whereas singing to music with headphones will inevitably cause even experienced singers to go off key. This is why you often see singers recording with only half of the headset on.

  14. I know a soprano who also likes the steam/humidity when showering and hates dry winter air. How does that help?

  15. My bologna? Don’t you mean bologna? This guy’s pronunciation of bologna is bologna! I need some bologna to calm down my bologna about all this bologna bologna.

  16. Here’re some questions:
    • why don’t we instinctively know about sex?
    • why do we instinctively suck on/lick wounds?
    • why do we pick scabs?

  17. Well, you know, after years and years of practicing in the shower, I think I just might hold a recital there.

  18. One question. Can our human ear really tell the differences between 32K, 24K Hi Res Audio, and just good old CD? Or even 320Kpbs Mp3s?

  19. Don't forget that the whiteish-noise from the shower head masks a lot of the imperfections in your singing.

  20. Hey I’ve got a science question about the rate of water evaporation. So I was walking down the street with the sun out, and just as I was coming upon a bridge it started to only slightly rain. I noticed the drops that landed on the street almost immediately evaporated, and I was wondering if a similar thing was happening to the river below the bridge.
    I imagine that it isn’t because the river is at a cooler temperature then the street, but what about the oceans and rivers in a hotter area (perhaps around the equator) where the water is as warm as my street on a 45 degree (f) day. Is the evaporation rate on my street the same as the ocean in Ecuador? Or does static cling of water make it harder to evaporate? When my street is wet (more then just a lite rain) is it harder for water to evaporate? Lol so many questions ^.^

  21. Commenting before looking at video – everyone sings and plays instruments differently with reverb and bathrooms has it. Let's see if I was right…

  22. As a filmmaker, I also notice bathroom with windows also gives nice and soft light. In short, bathrooms make you look better, sound better and smell better.

  23. More specifically, Wierd Al recorded in the public restroom across the hall from his college's radio studio.

  24. I feel like there's also something to be said for the fact that you have less inhibitions when you assume that no one is listening.

  25. I think its more of a psychological thing. When you sing in front of people you are usually more nervous than in the shower so you sing better because of the lack of anxiety.

  26. The humidity also helps. Singing in a room close to an air conditioner is a nightmare in my opinion. :-/

  27. I never sang in the shower until I moved out. Instead I sang in the dryer – great acoustics! That was until my parents got a new one with a plastic drum. Thankfully the new washer worked just as well.

  28. I'm surprised they didn't bring up factors such as the heat warming the muscles and the better feel of confidence because of the noise from the water.

  29. We ACTUALLY DO sing better in the shower.  We hear ourselves better, so we adjust our pitch better.  The video got a thumbs down from me because it didn't mention that critical point.

  30. There is another factor that's not really taken in consideration here in the video. Part of taking voice lessons is learning how to belt without actually tightening muscles aside from the diaphragm. The hot water and steam on your body helps to relax muscles and when you reduce tension it is actually easier to hit those notes that you struggle with.

  31. I usually hum, and I think that the privacy allows you to sing/hum louder and better because you’re not afraid of embarrassing yourself.

  32. Not to mention that the warm steamy air in the shower significantly helps warm up your voice and can cause it to sound a lot smoother and clearer than a cold voice sounds when you just decide to belt without doing proper exercises

  33. In the shower, yes, but I've also noticed that I sound better (at least to myself) if I'm singing along. If I'm wearing only one earphone, or both earphones but at a low enough volume that I can still hear myself clearly, my voice seems to be more in tune than when I pause the music. I've often wondered if that's an acoustic effect of combining the singer's voice with mine, or a psychological/guiding effect where singing along with the actual singer helps me find the right notes more easily than if I had to do it all on my own.

  34. An UNtapped force of nature!!!!
    The vortex that flows out of solid state magnets….

    Constantly.

    Look. The only things in the WHOLE UNIVERSE not in perpetual motion, for the moment – are the machines WE humans currently make.

  35. This is total conjecture, but I also wonder if the running water plays a role in your perceived voice quality. Sometimes you can mistakenly hear voices or music in loud white noise (I know for me personally, if I have a song really stuck in my head, it almost seems like the running water plays pieces of it in the background). Maybe when you're singing, your mind fills in the gaps in your voice quality with the expectations of the notes using the shower's white noise.

  36. i never sung during shower …. I never lived in an house made of bricks … walls over here are paper and wood-based, there is not much sound proofing. I hate England !!!!!

  37. …my impression was, the increased, warm, humidity, deepens the vocal registers' pitch…
    (compare does an AM radio (in a plastic, vegetable bag) sound better in the shower stall)

  38. It's not nice of the karaoke manufacturers, it's economically smart. If you sound bad you won't sing karaoke. So making you sound good as possible whether you actually do or not is just good business. There's nothing charitable about it.

  39. You actually sound worse in the car for the exact opposite reason. Cars are designed to mute noises for a quieter ride and to keep families in tight spaces from noise overload ( think of your parents in the front seat trying to tune out three fighting siblings in the backseat)

  40. There was a sound effect created in War of the Worlds radio play which was the opening of a space ship door, if I remember correctly. A sound effects man opened a pickle jar inside the commode of a bathroom. Very cool sound.

  41. Yeah I can sing this one note in my shower and it feels like the note is so loud and feels like it’s shaking the shower but I go down one more note and it’s back to normal

  42. This why i feel that i sound like ed sheeran in the shower,and sound like a dying donkey outside the shower…….how to solve problem?just become lifetime shower singer……..Do in public toilets,so people would know u more……Especially if u attract ladies to the men's toilet

  43. Pfft. Lies. I'm a mermaid whose voice can only truly reveal its magic in the presence of water. (And in the absence of witnesses.)

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