I am designing sound for a game in which the player deals with fireflies on the game board. I realize that real fireflies don't make sound, but does anyone have any suggestions for how to create a "hum" or such that would suit? Thanks

  • It is not my answer but just sharing. I read in a novel (in Telugu language), in which a character listens to the song of fireflies in the forest. I was wondering if the fireflies make any sound at all leave alone singing. Now I know. They don't. :-)
    – user6829
    Nov 19 '13 at 18:01

An idea for the wings:

Try grabbing a pair of gloves (any kind will do as long as they make noise when you flap them). Put them together palm-to-palm and grib the wrist part in your hands. Record yourself shaking the fingers back and forth rapidly. This is a fairly well-used technique for the sound of bird wings, if it sounds familiar...

Take these recordings and pitch them up (a lot) until they have more of a buzzing sound. You'll need to set your pitch shifter so that as the pitch goes higher, the duration becomes shorter—for instance, in the pro tools pitch shifter plugin you would disable 'Time Correction'. I tried this trick as a part of a guerilla sound design challenge (had to make the wings of a fairy) and the result was very cool. It still had the feeling of individual wings but the speed of the buzz of an insect.

Just my $.02. Enjoy!


Coincidentally, I'd asked a similar question of one of my teachers - in particular I'd wanted to do the sound of wings. His suggestion: load some/any sounds into kontakt, loop a portion, play em high and add square wave LFOs to volume or pitch, control the LFO freq with pitch bend. You might want an envelope on volume with a 1.5 sec release

Worked pretty well for me.

  • Thanks for all the help. I was eventually able to create an approximation of the bioluminescent, shimmery sound I had in mind by using a combination of the synths and FX in Ableton. It can be heard at: mediafire.com/?b43xlvgcnk66f7e. Thanks again!
    – davidreino
    Sep 30 '12 at 23:55

Don't know what kind of game it is, but that sound you uploaded to mediafire sounds good, but pretty static. If it's being played for a long time you might want to add some volume and filter modulation to it.

Also if there is a chance to do distance attenuation I'd add the very high pitched wingflaps (as suggested by others) with very steep volume curve so that they can be only heard when camera is straight next to fireflies.

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