The history of the Nokia ringtone

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The Nokia ringtone, also known as the "Nokia tune" or "Grande Valse," is a phrase from a composition for solo guitar, "Gran Vals," composed in 1902 by the Spanish classical guitarist and composer Francisco Tárrega. The tune first appeared on the Nokia 2110 released in 1994, under the name ringtone Type 7. 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". In 1998, "Grande Valse" was renamed to "Nokia tune" and effectively became Nokia's flagship ringtone. The Nokia tune has been updated several times to take advantage of advancing technology or to reflect musical trends at the time. The first polyphonic MIDI version of the Nokia tune was introduced in 2001 with the release of two South Korea-exclusive devices, the Nokia 8877 and the Nokia 8887. The Nokia 3510, released in 2002, was the first globally released phone to include this version. The Nokia 9500 Communicator in 2004 introduced a realtone recorded piano version. A guitar-based version was introduced with the Nokia N78 in 2008, reflecting the popularity of nu-folk at the time. The Nokia N9 in late 2011 introduced a new version, which was created by in-house composer Henry Daw. This version uses a marimba for its melody, and was intended to be genre-neutral. In 2018, a new version was introduced on HMD Global's Nokia 1 and 7 Plus, and remains in use. The Nokia tune was originally used as the background music in a commercial for the Nokia 1011 in 1992. 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 the "Nokia tune". The excerpt is taken from measures (bars) 13–16 of the piece. The original Nokia tone was chosen because it was free of expensive copyright complications, as European law makes music available to the public 70 years after the composer’s death. Francisco Tárrega, who died 84 years before the Nokia 1011 was released, was the perfect choice. The ringtone was first heard in a Nokia 1011 advert in 1992. Seven years later, the ‘Grande Valse’ was renamed as the Nokia tune, and it quickly became Nokia’s flagship ringtone and the brand’s defining soundbite.
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