How to compose ringtones for Nokia mobile phones composer, using MIDIs

After making a deal with my father, that is exchanging my brand new Philips Fisio 311 (he gave it to me after receiving it as a gift) for his second-hand Nokia 3310 (which keeps the battery load only for 3 idle days…), I threw myself into high-end customization.

First things came first, but then I could spend some time working on ringtones: all I dreamt was to have the Monkey Island most famous themes to play on my cellphone.

This guide is thought for the ones who have MIDI files of their favourite songs and want to "translate" them to ringtones, and is made referring to some useful tools I found on the net. The downloadable ZIP containing them (Nokia Ringtone Kit), along with the tones I made myself, can be found in the Downloads/AudioVideo page.

RTTTL (simply referred to as "RTTL") stands for RingTone Text Transfer Language and is the standard text format describing notes on the cellphones, so, at least until the last passage, this guide can be used for every kind of phone supporting this standard, the only difference being that you will need to find yourself the keys to write notes, as the program I included in the package converts notes to keypresses just for Nokia phones.

First step, find a MIDI file that suits you:

These are two of the files I used to create ringtones


Then copy them in your working folder, possibly changing the name to easier ones, like "intro.mid" and "ghost.mid" for the example, and finally start MIDI2Tone (tonewin.exe) opening one file and playing it.

Once opened the file, you must find the channel which plays the melody.


Use the selector in the upper-right corner to change the channel, until you see the note frequency in the black window follows the beat and the frequency of the main melody. After that, press the Note View button:

Here you see where the notes are relatively to the Nokia reproducible octaves (notes are red because they have been selected).


Drag a rectangle around the whole set of notes forming the melody (selected notes become red), and after right clicking choose "Listen". You may get an error here. If you don’t, jump the paragraph regarding MIDI Transpose. The Nokia 3210, same for 3310 (don’t know about the others, but should be the same) supports only 3 octaves, while the standard RTTL reads 4 octaves. When you press Listen, if some of the notes fall outside the octave range of the phone you’ll get an error:

One of the selected (red) notes falls outside the correct range.


This means that you need to adjust the melody to fit available octaves by shifting the notes of the MIDI up or down according to the number of halftones you specify. Roughly, if you don’t know what I am talking about, take a look at the screenshot of MIDI2Tone Note View: it will drag up or down the red signs to make all of them be inside the yellow area. Supposedly, then, we need to bring them down. Let’s say 7 halftones down are sufficient. We uncompress MIDI Transpose (let’s do it in the same folder where the MIDI and TXT files are) and go to the command prompt (Start > Run > Command inside Win98/Me or Start > Run > cmd inside Win2k/XP), change to the directory containing the miditran.exe file, and do the following (supposing our file is named ghost.mid):

The sintax of miditran.exe is the following (for our purposes):
miditran -notes <+/- halftones (up or down)> <originalfile>.mid <newfile>.mid


The GHOSTDOWN.MID file will now be down 7 halftones.

Now if the original MIDI was OK, or you just fixed it into the new MIDI, open it inside MIDI2Tone and do the same of above:

Now all the notes fall inside the yellow area, as they should.
Here you can see how many notes contains the melody after right-clicking and pressing "Listen"


You can’t have more than 50 notes (pauses included) in a ringtone. MIDI2Tone does the dirty job for you and removes pauses, prolonging previous beats to save space, but if after this you still have more than 50 notes, you need to reduce the selected notes by right clicking and chosing "Clear", and then again selecting the last notes to remove, untill the "Listen" dialog shows 50 notes or less. When you are happy of the results, right click in the Note View and choose "Save as nokring" (choose a name with a TXT extension).

In the package is included also WBeep, a DOS utility. Extract it in the same folder of the TXT, and in Windows Explorer drag and drop the TXT on the EXE file. It will playback the tone with the PC Speaker giving a fast preview.

After that start the Nokring RTTL to Nokia Converter and load the TXT you saved from inside MIDI2Tone. Important: MIDI2Tone gets exclusive usage of the MIDI device even if it’s not playing anything, so you need to close MIDI2Tone to hear audio from Nokring Converter.

The RTTL txt file once imported in Nokring Converter and converted to keypresses.


Select the options of Nokring Converter as in figure, and press the button Get… to browse to the txt file saved from MIDI2Tone (or use one of the RTTL files I included in the ZIP). Choosing to view the keypresses, you’ll see what keys you need to type in the Nokia composer to write the notes.

Et voilà medames et monsieurs
or whataver, I didn’t study french

3 thoughts on “How to compose ringtones for Nokia mobile phones composer, using MIDIs”

  1. [commenti dal vecchio sito]

    2010-05-23 19:36:21
    Sorprendente che questa guida ti torni ancora utile una decina di anni dopo che è stata scritta in piena epoca di smartphone e suonerie mp3 😀
    2010-05-23 14:41:12
    Grazie bellissimo lavoro!!!

  2. I was googling for like 3 hours for the awesome tonewin program which i had forgot the name of. Thanks for your post ^_

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