Hans Zimmer Explores a New Composing Frontier: Smartphone Ringtones

Jon Burlingame
·2-min read

Not content merely to conquer the film-music world, composer Hans Zimmer has now turned his attention to cell-phone ringtones.

Chinese smartphone maker Oppo has unveiled its latest, the Find X3 Pro, which offers two Zimmer-created ringtones and “an orchestra of system sounds,” according to an announcement by the company.

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The new sounds include two warm ringtones, a gentle alarm and a phone activation sound as well as “a range of energizing text and notification alerts.” The intent, the company says, was for “Zimmer’s simple yet epic notes [to] inspire optimism and joy with every alert.”

Zimmer’s “Colourful Future” theme — from which the ringtones are derived — finds the Oscar- and Grammy-winning composer in magical, mystical mode, filled with chimes and gentle choral sounds, all very mellow while building to an orchestral crescendo, then a quiet finish:

In an Oppo-created promotional video, Zimmer says: “To me everything is a story. Ultimately it always ends up being about how do we get closer?

“I hear colors,” he adds. “I want the ringtone to open a door that says there’s the possibility to feel something. Our whole world changed because of the pandemic, and in a very fundamental way: the idea of physical contact has disappeared.

“I felt somehow it was my duty as a musician to figure out how to replace a little bit of that spirit that comes from one heart over to the other heart. The only way you can do music is by connecting notes, and those notes connect to musicians, and musicians connect to an audience, and suddenly you have a form of communication that you’ve never had before.

“That’s exactly what these phones are doing these days. They connect us.”

Zimmer also scored a two-and-a-half minute promotional video that looks like a sci-fi movie.

The composer has three major films lined up for the rest of 2021: “Top Gun: Maverick,” due July 2; “Dune,” due Oct. 1; and the James Bond film “No Time to Die,” due Oct. 8.

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