The Nokia tune (also called Grande Valse) is a phrase from a composition for solo guitar, Gran Vals, by the Spanish classical guitarist and composer Francisco Tárrega, written in 1902. It has been the icon of Finnish corporation Nokia since the 1990s, becoming the first identifiable musical ringtone on a mobile phone.
In 1993 Anssi Vanjoki, then Executive Vice President of Nokia, brought the whole Gran Vals to Lauri Kivinen (then Head of Corporate Communications) and together they selected the excerpt that became "Nokia tune". The excerpt is taken from measures (bars) 13–16 of the piece.
The Nokia tune first appeared on the Nokia 2110 released in 1994, under the name ringtone Type 7, showing that it was just one of the normal ringtones. The tune's original name varied in the ringtone list, being listed as Type 13 on some phones, or Type 5 on others. In December 1997 with the introduction of the Nokia 6110, ringtones were each given a specific name, and this is where the Nokia tune came, though it was originally called Grande Valse. Some Nokia phones (e.g. some 3310s) still used Type 7 as the name of the Nokia tune. In 1999, Grande valse was renamed as Nokia tune and effectively became Nokia's flagship ringtone.
In December 1999, Jimmy Cauty, formerly of The KLF, and Guy Pratt released the mobile telephone-themed novelty-pop record "I Wanna 1-2-1 With You" under the name Solid Gold Chartbusters which heavily samples the theme. It was released as competition for the UK Christmas number one single but only got to number 62. The release of this song prevented the Super Furry Animals from releasing their song "Wherever I Lay My Phone (That's My Home)" from the album Guerrilla as a single, on the grounds that it was also based on a mobile phone theme.
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It has since been evolved into many different types with the evolution of mobile phones' audio capabilities:
- The original tune from 1994 until 2002 was in monophonic form, where one note is played at a time. With the release of Nokia 6110 the tone was called "Grande valse". This Nokia tune is in the .NRT file format.
- The first known polyphonic MIDI version of the Nokia tune was introduced in 1999 with the release of two South Korea-exclusive devices, the Nokia 8877 and the Nokia 8887. They were also the first mobile phones in the world to feature polyphonic ringtones.
- In 2002 the Nokia 3510 introduced the polyphonic MIDI Nokia tune to other parts of the world. Several different variants of these exist which differed between every phone's MIDI capability. This Nokia tune has also been used in much later Nokia models (even after a newer one was introduced), the final Nokia phone using this Nokia tune was the Nokia 7070 Prism from 2008.
- The Nokia 9500 Communicator in 2004 introduced a realtone recorded piano version. It was used on some other phones until 2008.
- In 2008 a new extended guitar-based version was made introduced with the Nokia N78, the shortened version (for Series 30 phones only) was introduced in 2009 with the release of the Nokia 5030 XpressRadio. The full version for all other phones was used until 2011.
- The Nokia N9 in late 2011 introduced a new tune based on bells and marimba, and was present on early Lumia devices and was also used on the Nokia Android smartphones in 2017. The shortened version was introduced in 2013 on basic Nokia phones and also appeared on Nokia 3310 (2017).
- With the release of Nokia 108 in 2013, a bells tune in polyphonic MIDI form was introduced and is still used today for basic (Series 30+) Nokia phones.
- A similar, but higher-pitched version of the N9 bells and marimba tune was available in 2013 on Lumia and Series 40 devices.
- In 2014 the Nokia 220 introduced a different polyphonic variant and was used on other Series 30+ phones.
- A new version of the Nokia tune was introduced in 2018 with the Nokia 6.1.
There are a few more versions of the Nokia tune that were uniquely used on one model, such as those on Nokia 9110, Nokia 2300 (produced by its unique polyphonic sound output), Nokia 8800 (a slowed down piano recording), and the Nokia 8800 Sirocco (a slow guitar version composed by Brian Eno). An official dubstep version was made in 2011 as part of Nokia's crowdsourcing campaign the Nokia Tune Remake competition; this is available alongside the traditional Nokia tune on certain models of that time.
The tune was prominently featured in a recurring sketch on the British hidden camera/practical joke reality television series Trigger Happy TV.
In 2009, it was reported that the tune is heard worldwide an estimated 1.8 billion times per day, about 20,000 times per second.
Tapio[who?] of the Nokia design sound team said that the 2011 remake competition, in which 2,800 people from 70 countries revamped the tune, shows how passionate people are about the Nokia tune and how it remains as an integrated part of the company.
Hong Kong singer Khalil Fong, a Nokia spokesperson for Greater China, composed a song called "Coconut Shell" (椰殼) which features a segment of the Nokia tune played on the erhu, a Chinese two-string instrument.
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- Solid Gold Chartbusters
- "Official Singles Chart Top 100 19 December 1999 – 25 December 1999". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 19 May 2016.
- Bresnark, Robin (19–25 January 2000). "'I like the idea of creating cultural havoc'". Melody Maker: 28–30.
- Long, April (22 January 2000). "The Fan-ish Inquisition". NME: 16–18.
- "Nokia Tune Remake". Audiodraft. 7 October 2011.
- "Julian Treasure: The 4 ways sound affects us". TED. July 2009.
- United States Patent and Trademark Office
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 14 July 2014. Retrieved 10 April 2013. Cite uses deprecated parameter
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- Thompson, Damian (17 January 2010). "The Nokia ringtone turns into… music!". The Daily Telegraph. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 2 July 2013.
- on YouTube
- Midi version of Gran Vals
- Francisco Tárrega: "Gran Vals": Scores at the International Music Score Library Project (IMSLP)
- Nokia tune at SoundCloud (Nokia Design Team / Microsoft Phones Design)