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This is the origin of the iconic Nokia ring tone

The technological era and the presence of all kinds of gadgets created new idols and symbols of the technological advancement.


The mass usage of cell phones changed many things, so new companies emerged, and the old ones became widely popular. Many logos and slogans became recognizable, shaping the world as we know it today. The importance of marketing became most significant, and the biggest cell phone producers aimed to create valuable and lifelong assets. One of the most successful examples is the Nokia tune, a sound known by almost anyone.

“Nokia tune”; in Tárrega’s Gran Vals, the phrase ends with an E instead of an A
“Nokia tune”; in Tárrega’s Gran Vals, the phrase ends with an E instead of an A

The Finnish tech giant is one of the largest companies in the world. Founded in 1865, the company operated in many industries but heavily focused on telecommunications and technology in the past two decades. As a major contributor to the creation of today’s technology, Nokia was the leading producer of cell phones.

Renown for their durable devices and the introduction of new technologies, Nokia became a symbol of quality and trust. Besides their products, the company had a marvelous marketing strategy, establishing their logo, the”Connecting people” slogan and the Nokia tune as symbols of the new era.

Nokia introduced its “Connecting People” advertising slogan in 1992, coined by Ove Strandberg
Nokia introduced its “Connecting People” advertising slogan in 1992, coined by Ove Strandberg

The Nokia tune was first presented by the company in their commercial for the Nokia 1011 model in 1992.

The melody appeared for only 3 seconds, and one year later, the company decided to use it as their trademark sound and include it in all of their models. Nokia 2110, released in 1994, was the first model that had the tune among the other ringtones.

In the following models, the name of the melody varied, and in 1997 the tune was given the name Grande Valse. In 1999, the name Nokia Tune was introduced, and the short theme became the Nokia authentic ringtone.

The original tune originates from 1902 composition. It was composed by the Spanish guitarist Francisco Tarrega, who is considered to be one of the greatest guitar players of all times. Born on 21st November 1852 in Villareal, Francisco became the founder of the 20th-century classic guitar style.

Although Tarrega is credited for the creation of the Nokia tune, he did not create the 3-second snippet. The guitarist simply borrowed the piece from the Grande Valse by Frederic Chopin, composed in 1833. This was Chopin’s first published waltz for solo piano, as the composer himself destroyed the previous pieces he made. Francisco Tarrega was inspired by Chopin, so he used the short tune in his own Grande Valse.

Francisco Tàrrega (before 1900)
Francisco Tàrrega (before 1900)

The Nokia tune is probably the most popular ringtone of all times. Until 2010, it was estimated that the tune was heard 1.8 billion times per day.

Read another story from us: A brief history of mobile phones and their evolution over the years

Today, this number has significantly increased.In 2011, the Finnish giant joined forces with Microsoft and obtained exclusive rights to use the Windows Phone operative system. In the same year, Nokia launched a competition for a remix of the tune, all to refresh the world’s most famous jingle and announce the new generation of Nokia handsets.

Neil Patrick

Neil Patrick is one of the authors writing for The Vintage News