This circuit generates a tone that sounds very similar to a siren. The generator part of the circuit is made of the combination of PNP and NPN transistors. Toghether, the two transistors build up a free runing multivibrator. If the C2 capacitor was connected to the positive line of the power supply, it would have worked as a constant frequency oscillator.
However, we dont want a constant frequency oscillator. We want a siren. So to generate an up and down going signal tone, the resistor R2 is fed from an RC circuit. When the switch S1 is pressed, the capacitor C1 charges via R1 slowly until it reaches the maximum voltage level of 4 volts. This increasing voltage results to a decreasing time constant at the R2/C2 junction. This furthermore results to an increasing frequency of the multivibrator.
After the switch S1 is released, the capacitor C1 discharges slowly resulting to a decreasing frequency cycle. Through the combination of the two time constants a sawtooth waveform is generated.
The signal heared from the speaker will be an increasing or decreasing tone depending on whether the switch S1 is pressed or released.