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What are Different Types of Ring Tones?

Amy Pollick
Updated May 16, 2024
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It isn’t unusual to go to a public place, such as a supermarket, and hear a chorus of competing musical samples. Some are just tones in a sequence, while other samples are actual radio versions of popular songs. Of course, all of these are ring tones for cell phones. When cell phones were still in their infancy, a person could get five or six different ringing options. Now, there are thousands of ring tones available, suitable for every taste and budget.

A person’s choice of ring tone will depend on what kinds of file types her cell phone supports. Some older phones only support the old monophonic tones, which play one note at a time, but the next generation included polyphonic varieties. Compatible phones for polyphonic ring tones reproduce the tones in harmony. These are usually longer than monophonic ring tones, and many titles are available.

The newest cell phones have MP3 technology, and so can play actual song samples, which sound like the song does on the radio. The MP3 ring tones are extremely popular with younger people and add a unique sound to the phone.

A person may decide to use ring tones that come with his cell phone, or he may decide to purchase extras. Additional ones can be purchased online through the phone’s manufacturer, the person’s service carrier, or other sources. Ring tones are downloaded onto the phone, and the user can choose the new tone from the menu.

In the beginning, ring tones were simple tunes, with some specific to the phone’s manufacturer and some one-note renditions of classical music or public domain tunes. These cost the manufacturers nothing in licensing fees, so they were popular. People wanted more titles to individualize their phones, however, and manufacturers began offering a wider variety of options.

Almost any tune is available as a ring tone. Selections run the gamut, including classical, pop, heavy metal, soul, country, rap, jazz and swing. Most universities even have their fight songs available as well. All a person needs to do is to log on to the web site that offers the file and download the ring tone she wants. Most are fairly inexpensive, so it’s a nice way to personalize a phone.

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Amy Pollick
By Amy Pollick
Amy Pollick, a talented content writer and editor, brings her diverse writing background to her work at EasyTechJunkie. With experience in various roles and numerous articles under her belt, she crafts compelling content that informs and engages readers across various platforms on topics of all levels of complexity.
Discussion Comments
By Perdido — On May 23, 2012

I think it is great that we can now download something as complex as a classical music mobile phone ring tone. Years ago, I never thought I would be hearing a symphony coming out of my phone. Today, it is possible and easy to achieve.

I can get a bunch of free ring tones online, and several of the ones available are snippets of classical music pieces. It can be a bit shocking to suddenly hear an orchestra start playing when the room is silent, and on more than one occasion, I have jumped when my phone rang.

However, I just think it is so cool that the ring tones are of such high quality. The sound is clear and crisp, with no distortion.

By OeKc05 — On May 23, 2012

@wavy58 – I actually like using song samples for cell phone ring tones. I enjoy picking out a different song ring tone for every person in my contact list.

I choose a song that fits their personality or is relevant to an experience we have had together. That way, I can keep the ring tones separate in my head, and whenever I hear a certain song coming out of my phone, I know who is calling me before I even check the caller ID.

Sometimes, I use this information to avoid calls from certain people. At other times, it has been a comfort to me. When I hear my phone playing a song that is the ring tone for someone that I've been waiting to hear from, I get excited and happy.

By wavy58 — On May 22, 2012

I really like the polyphonic mobile ring tones. They sound so cute, yet they are not overly simplified. They add interest to a basic tone.

I have several of these on my phone, and I use one for my ring tone and a separate one for text message alerts. I love hearing the harmonies whenever I get a call or a message. The sound brightens my day.

I don't like using actual song samples for ring tones. I know that if I had a certain song set as my ring tone, then any time that song came on the radio, I would check my phone to see if it were ringing. I've seen people do this in public places when a popular song would come over the speakers, and it's kind of funny!

By cloudel — On May 21, 2012

I still have an older model cell phone, and it only plays the simplest melodies for ring tones. This is fine with me, because all I need a ring tone for is to let me know that someone is calling.

I don't need to hear my favorite song whenever the phone rings. I also don't need fancy harmonies for this.

I am fine just using the free ring tones that came with the phone. I can't understand why people would pay money for additional ones when the free ones work just fine.

Amy Pollick
Amy Pollick
Amy Pollick, a talented content writer and editor, brings her diverse writing background to her work at EasyTechJunkie....
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