Nokia tune

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"Nokia tune"; in Tárrega's Gran Vals, the final A is two octaves lower.

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.[1] It has been the icon of Finnish corporation Nokia since the 1990s, becoming the first identifiable musical ringtone on a mobile phone, and has become a cult classic.[2]


The "Nokia Tune" was first heard briefly for 3 seconds in a Nokia 1011 commercial in 1992, as part of the Gran Vals used in the ad.[3]

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".[4][5] 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.[6] 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.[7] It was released as competition for the UK Christmas number one single but only got to number 62.[8] 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.[9][10]


It has since been evolved into many different types with the evolution of mobile phones' audio capabilities:

  • The original tune from 1994 was in mono 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.
  • In 2002 the Nokia 3510 introduced polyphonic sound, mostly MIDI-based. This Nokia Tune has also been used in much later Nokia models (even after the newer ones were 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.
  • 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 2011.
  • The Nokia N9 in 2011 introduced a new tune based on bells and chimes, and was present on early Lumia devices, the shortened version was introduced in 2013 on basic Nokia phones.
  • A similar, but higher-pitched version of the tune was available in 2013 on Lumias running Windows Phone 8.

With the release of Nokia 108 in 2015 the polyphonic MIDI version was introduced.

There are more versions of the Nokia tune than just these—however, those would be minor and simply be a variant of one of these major five. One exception is an official dubstep version that was made in 2011 as part of Nokia's crowdsourcing campaign the Nokia Tune Remake competition;[11] this is available alongside the traditional Nokia tune.

One unknown Nokia Tune is heard in the Nokia 2300 and the Nokia Tune from that phone does not fit into any of the categories listed.


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.[12]

Tapio 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.

The tune has been registered by Nokia as a sound trademark in some countries.[13][14]


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.

Canadian pianist Marc-André Hamelin wrote a short composition entitled Valse Irritation d'Après Nokia based on the tune.[15]

Nokia celebrated the 20 years of the ringtone in 2014 by recording an a cappella version.[16]


  1. ^ Tony Skinner; Raymond Burley (2002). Classical Guitar Playing: Grade Seven (LCM). Registry Publications Ltd. p. 10. ISBN 1-898466-67-X. 
  2. ^ Ryzik, Melena Z. (10 July 2005). "The Nokia Fugue in G Major". The New York Times. Retrieved 13 April 2008. 
  3. ^ Peters, Luke (25 April 2014). "Nokia Tune: more than just a ringtone". Lumia Conversations. Microsoft Mobile. Archived from the original on 13 April 2015. 
  4. ^ Juutilainen, Esa-Markku & Kukkula, Tapio (2007). Lukion Musa 1 (in Finnish). WSOY. p. 41. ISBN 978-951-0-30756-4. 
  5. ^ Moisio, Aleksi (18 February 2010). "Uusi Yle-pomo osasyyllinen Nokian tunnusmelodiaan" (in Finnish). Taloussanomat. Retrieved 19 May 2016. 
  6. ^ "The Nokia story - The mobile revolution". Nokia. Archived from the original on 3 May 2012. 
  7. ^ Solid Gold Chartbusters
  8. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100 19 December 1999 - 25 December 1999". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 19 May 2016. 
  9. ^ Bresnark, Robin (Jan 19–25, 2000). "'I like the idea of creating cultural havoc'". Melody Maker: 28–30. 
  10. ^ Long, April (22 January 2000). "The Fan-ish Inquisition". NME: 16–18. 
  11. ^ "Nokia Tune Remake". Audiodraft. 7 October 2011. 
  12. ^ "Julian Treasure: The 4 ways sound affects us". TED. July 2009. 
  13. ^ United States Patent and Trademark Office
  14. ^
  15. ^ Thompson, Damian (17 January 2010). "The Nokia ringtone turns into… music!". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 2 July 2013. 
  16. ^ Nokia (6 April 2014). "Happy 20th birthday to the world's best-known ringtone". 

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