Experimental director, composer and playwright Jim Wilson recorded the sound of crickets and then slowed down the recording, revealing something so amazing. The crickets sound like they are singing the most angelic chorus in perfect harmony. Though it sounds like human voices, everything you hear is the crickets themselves. There are two tracks, one is played at regular speed and the other is the slowed version. The singing you hear are the crickets only. No instruments or voices were added.
“The first time I heard it… I swore I was listening to the Vienna Boys Choir, or the Mormon Tabernacle choir. It has a four-part harmony it is a swaying choral panorama. No effects have been added of any kind except that they changed the speed of the tape. The sound is so haunting. I played it for Charlie Musselwhite and he looked at me as if I pulled a Leprechaun out of my pocket.” Tom Waite. Originally recorded by Jim Wilson and David Carson in 1992, Jim slowed down the original cricket song to match and mirror the lifespan of the average human being. The result is a work that induces an atmosphere of peace, serenity and healing, all courtesy of Mother Nature’s Crickets.
So is it true? Not a firm believer in SNOPES I checked them anyway:
CLAIM – A slowed-down recording of crickets chirping sounds like a human chorus.
Musician Tom Waits referenced this piece of cricket music in a 2008 NPR interview as the most interesting recording he owned:
Q: Most interesting recording you own?
A: It’s a mysteriously beautiful recording from, I am told, Robbie Robertson’s label. It’s of crickets. That’s right, crickets. The first time I heard it … I swore I was listening to the Vienna Boys Choir, or the Mormon Tabernacle choir. It has a four-part harmony. It is a swaying choral panorama. Then a voice comes in on the tape and says, “What you are listening to is the sound of crickets. The only thing that has been manipulated is that they slowed down the tape.” No effects have been added of any kind, except that they changed the speed of the tape. The sound is so haunting. I played it for Charlie Musselwhite, and he looked at me as if I pulled a Leprechaun out of my pocket.
Bonnie Jo Hunt, Opera Singer, being told about the crickets when she was asked to sing with them can be heard here. In the recording at the NPR site you can absolutely hear her voice on the track and it isn’t the chorus part. Plus she’s herself talks about what the crickets sound like – a chorus.
Then there is this:
This is the sound of mutiple field crickets slowed down 50 times. There is various pitch changes on the tracks. However, it dosen’t sound like an angel choir. Jim Wilson may had recorded crickets and slowed down the recording, but he had obviously modified the file to make it sound like some angelic choir (he is musician after all).
But maybe he just didn’t capture it or manipulate it like Wilson did …. I’m going to agree with SNOPES on this one and say – Yeah, it’s possible. After all, they recently found that Mice mamas sing to their babies:
The mysteries and beauties of nature should be something we all cherish and protect.
Image Source: Image credit: Beryl Baker of http://lifeandberyl.blogspot.com/.