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 1992, Nokia used Francisco Tárrega's Gran Vals as the background music in a commercial for the Nokia 1011. The excerpt of Gran Vals used includes the phrase that would later be used for the Nokia tune ringtone.
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 the tune received the name "Grande valse". Some later 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 2000 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 2012.
- In 2010, the Nokia C7-00 was launched with the option of downloading a full orchestra version of the Nokia tune.
- The Nokia N9 in late 2011 introduced a new tune based on marimbas, bells and chimes, and was present on early Lumia devices and was also used on the Nokia Android smartphones in 2017 and feature phones such as Nokia 210 and Nokia 5310 (2020). 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 for their MediaTek devices and is still used today for the Nokia 106 (2018) and 130.
- A similar, but higher-pitched and slightly sped up version of the N9 marimba, bells and chimes tune was available in 2013 on Lumia and the Nokia 515.
- In 2014 the Nokia 220 re-introduced the version in older S60 phones for feature phones that run on MediaTek chipsets and was used on other Series 30+ phones.
- The new marimba, bells and chimes tune was introduced with the Nokia 1 and 7 Plus in 2018.
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 was heard worldwide an estimated 1.8 billion times per day, about 20,000 times per second.
Dutch cabaret duo Woe & van der Laan had a 2017 comedy show Pesetas, revolving around Francisco Tarréga and how an excerpt of his Gran Vals became known as of the Nokia Tune
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- on YouTube