In a revelation that has left TikTok users in awe, classical guitarist Alexandra Whittingham has uncovered the origin of the iconic ‘Nokia tune’ in a recent video posted on the platform. Playing ‘Gran Vals’ by Francisco Tarrega, the talented musician showcased the piece upon which the famous ringtone is based. With a touch of humor, Whittingham remarked, ‘I won’t rest until this piece gets the recognition it deserves.’
The video begins with the guitar rendition of ‘Gran Vals,’ a solo guitar composition composed by Tarrega in 1902. The first 15 seconds present a typical waltz, but as the piece progresses, the unmistakable Nokia tone emerges, surprising viewers with its unexpected origin. Whittingham concludes the video with a chuckle, leaving thousands of viewers expressing their delight in the comments.
‘It sounds like a Pixar movie sponsored by Nokia,’ remarked one user, capturing the whimsical connection between the classical piece and the ubiquitous ringtone. Another cleverly quipped, ‘Sir, thy Nokia doth ring,’ adding a touch of medieval flair to the revelation. The humorous responses highlight the unexpected blend of classical music and modern technology.
Gran Vals became the foundation for Nokia’s iconic ringtone due to its availability in the public domain. As explained by Classical FM, Nokia sought a soundbite free from expensive copyright issues, and European law allowed music to be available to the public 70 years after the composer’s death. With Francisco Tarrega having passed away 84 years earlier, his composition was the perfect choice for Nokia’s distinctive tune.
The original tinny ringtone debuted in 1992 as part of an advertisement for the Nokia 1011. Over the years, the ringtone has undergone various iterations, including versions featuring a real piano in 2004 and an extended guitar-based tune in 2008. Whittingham’s TikTok revelation not only showcases the musical connection between classical compositions and modern technology but also adds a layer of appreciation for the timeless beauty of ‘Gran Vals’ by Francisco Tarrega.