In a resonant vibration, two reactive elements, such as a mass and a spring, interact: the resonant frequency depends on the magnitude of these two elements. The build-up and decay of the vibration depend on the way the resonator is driven and on the damping in the system. The evidence for the existence of resonators in insect sound production is assessed. The mechanics of different types of sound-producing system found in insects is described. Mechanical frequency-multiplier mechanisms, which convert the relatively slow contraction of muscles to the higher frequency of the sound, are commonly used to convert the comparatively slow muscle contraction rate to the higher frequency of the sound. The phasing and rate of mechanical excitation may also affect the frequency and duration of the sound that is produced. Although in many insects the song may appear to be produced by the excitation of a simple resonator, the song frequency may not be constant, suggesting that other factors, such as the mechanism of excitation, or variation of the effective mass or elasticity of the system during sound production, may be additional determinants of the song frequency. Loud, and hence efficient, transduction of the energy of a mechanical resonator into sound may involve a second stage of transduction which, by damping the resonator, may compromise tonal purity. Some insect singers resolve this problem by tuning both stages of transduction to the same frequency, thereby maintaining tonal purity.

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