Music to your ears? Nokia hires orchestra to create ringtones

Mobile phone ringtones have the reputation of being, well, a bit annoying. Remember the infamous Dom Joly sketch on Trigger Happy TV when he whips out a giant mobile after it sounds out the Nokia ringtone.

Then, there are all those chart toppers made into ringtones that somehow never sound quite so good chirruping from your coat pocket or bag when you get a call as they do on your MP3 player.

So, Nokia is going all highbrow on us in a bid to create ringtones everyone loves.

Moguls at the Swedish corporation have hired a 55-piece orchestra to create ringtones for Nokia’s smartphone range.

The move comes after research revealed classical ringtones were some of the most popular among mobile users.

Twenty-five original classical tunes have been recorded with the Bratislava Symphony Orchestra, which has also recorded Boots’ Christmas advert soundtrack and the score for the video games Castlevania: Lord of Shadows, Sims 2 and Assasin’s Creed 3.

Some of the new compositions are already on the new Nokia Lumia 920 and Nokia Lumia 820 and others will be offered on new smartphone models.

The new tunes have been composed by Nokia’s in-house sound designers, with some help from audio production company Epic Sound.

Explaining the thinking behind the new ringtones, Tapio Hakanen, Nokia’s head of sound and visual content, said: “It’s equally relevant three years from now or five years from now – it’s been relevant for hundreds of years, so that doesn’t change.”

While Hakanen said you could get pretty close to an orchestral sound with “the best software, instruments, and samplers and so forth,” Nokia “really wanted to go with the real thing.”

He said the importance of a good ringtone could not be underestimated because choosing one of the preloaded ringtones was one of the first things users did with their new device.

The new sounds come after Nokia’s new 920 and 820 models launched last month in the UK. The first two of the manufacturer’s smartphones to run off the Windows Phone 8 OS, they were launched with music of a very different genre.

Canadian DJ deadmau5 helped launch the handsets at an event in London, with a spectacular lightshow in Flat Iron Square, Southwark.

Now Nokia has moved from electro-house to classical. Asbjoern Andersen, from Epic Sound, said: “Nokia has one of the most recognisable brand sounds in the world and has done lots of pioneering work to innovate and evolve sound on mobile phones. And I think bringing in a living, breathing orchestra really takes this to the next level.”

With Nokia mobile sounds heard around a billion times a day, Anderson added: “A lot of work is put into ensuring they would stand repeated listening in a lot of different environments and to give the products a unique, organic sound you don’t normally hear on mobile devices.”

So, finally, perhaps a mobile ringtone that doesn’t annoy your fellow commuters when it chimes out on the train…

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