By: Liangwei Shen
Technical Training Manager Brüel & Kjær China
Cicadas are born underground, and after 2 to 17 years, the nymphs emerge, climb to the nearest tree, shed their old skins and become adults. Regardless of species, adult cicadas perish within a season or two and do not live multiple years in their adult form.
Cicadas live in groups, so it’s not easy to find a single individual. However, I was lucky enough to record an interview with a Mr. Cicada in Haidian, Beijing, using a Type 2250 Sound Level Meter in high resolution setting with a sampling rate of 24 bits.
The male cicada chirp is generated by the vibration of the tympanic membrane, which is pulled and compressed by the tensor tympani muscle. The cicada chirp lasts for tens of seconds at a time, reaching deafening levels before fading out again.
Our recording covers the final part of a chirp. By dragging the file into a display in PULSE Reflex™ Core, we can clearly see several 1 s periods in the chirp signal. The peak value is about 0.7 Pa, around 90 dB.
Zooming in on the 1 s period shows that the period signal is composed of pulse trains. We carried out an FFT vs Time analysis to obtain an RMS spectral density spectrogram. The spectrum’s frequency range – from 20 Hz to 12.8 kHz – dominates between 2.5 kHz and 6.1 kHz, with the highest peak occurring at around 5.7 kHz.
Soon, leaves will fall from the autumn wind and the air will cool. It will become hard for cicadas to chirp as their lives come to an end; their song turns sad, as winter is upon us.
Hear the sound of Cicada Chirp