Hi audio-people

I've been trying to create from scratch some cicada sounds, maybe someone here can help me in this crazy idea.

the link above is an idea of how far I've gone so far.

I've done that in Reason and protools using only subtractive synthesis and HP filtering.

So... any ideas?

  • Sounds a little like granulated frying bacon? Is it all synth, or did you use something like that? Commented Jan 16, 2013 at 11:16
  • thats all synth, subtractive synth Commented Jan 16, 2013 at 17:54

6 Answers 6


What analysis have you done of real cicadas? if you pitch/slow them down you can hear the rhythm of their individual stridulations, so that would a good starting point... Your version sounds very smeared, rather than percussive....


Of course it also depends exactly what cicada you are trying to create - their sound varies hugely depending on species ie cicadas in NZ sound nothing like cicadas in Japan

  • TP = amazing :) Commented Jan 15, 2013 at 22:30
  • "stridulations" = amazing :)
    – MtL
    Commented Jan 15, 2013 at 23:04
  • @tim - Haha, absolutely awesome! Truly amazing how the slowed down version sound exactly like some kind of code/language! Commented Jan 15, 2013 at 23:37
  • A while back I tried and had some amount of success simulating cicada-like insects by pitching/speeding up bird calls - and listening to your cicadas at 1/4 speed it almost sounds like some species of bird. Commented Jan 16, 2013 at 17:50
  • Hi Tim, your post at music of sound is great!, I've listened to it a lot before coming with this idea. In fact the cicada I'm trying to reproduce are the ones here at Brazil Commented Jan 16, 2013 at 18:02

Bizarre that this has come up before....twice!

Check this thread for some good links to Andy Farnell's work:

How do you design a cricket sound?

also here:

Creating insect and meadow ambient noises without recording insects or meadow abients?!

Good luck with it.



I have plenty of Louisiana Cicadas should you need that audio.

  • Thank's for your support Michael Gilbert! I've recorded some cicadas myself but this is more about the exercice of creating their sound from zero. Commented Jan 24, 2013 at 18:54

I would suggest granular synthesis in some form.. it's one of the greatest tools for producing 'random' textural sounds.


I'm interested to know why you want to create cicada sounds rather than record cicadas? Is it to mke some sort of synth patch type effect, or are you wanting to sound like real cicadas? I've recorded heaps of New Zealand cicada sounds as they are all over the place here at this time of year!

  • It's all about the fun, they're at full speed right now here to. I'm just doing this as an exercice! Commented Jan 24, 2013 at 18:51

I came across this thread while looking for information on granular synthesis. My response is several years late. Did you ever get something that you were happy with? Your example link is no longer up.

I actually had a bit of success with synthesizing crickets. They aren't the same as cicadas, but maybe the strategy used will be a good starting point.

I employ a "carrier" sine wave of 4.5 KHz, and modulate its amplitude with a 66Hz sine. Another wave form (e.g., closer to square) for the amplitude modulation might work even better.

The cricket was done with Java and can be downloaded and heard here. It is one of several tracks that can be mixed for a forest ambience. Most of the cues are recorded, but the cricket and the chirp were synthesized.

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