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Motorola Ringtone Keypress Format

This page describes the ringtone format used by the C331t and compatible phones. Please note Motorola has several different formats which it uses, so if your phone is not listed on the main converter page it probably uses a different format (read the top of that page for another converter to try). Of course Motorola can introduce new phones at any time, so yours may be compatible and we don't know about it yet. Check the manual for your phone below and see if the format matches.

Manual for your phone

If you have not yet found it, go to Motorola's web site and download the updated manual for your phone (non-US users use this link). The PDF manual found online for the C331t is over twice as long as the 80+ page printed manual that came with our phone. Page 100 starts the detailed explanation on entering your own tones.

How to enter notes

To enter keystrokes shown in the converter press the indicated key the number of times shown, so "2222" means press the "2" button four times. As you press "2" you will see the display rotate through the letters selected (four 2s should go through a-b-c and yield a "2" in the display). You must either wait for the key to register or hit the right arrow on the dial to move to the next character, or you will get incorrect results!

Key(s) Displays
in Phone
Description   Note entry sequence  
0 0 whole note   1) set octave applies to all following notes
(note some phones need the
octave set on all notes)
00 * enter * followed
by 0-8 to set octave
  2) set sharp/flat set before note
000 # sharp note   3) enter note  
0000 & flat note   4) set length set after note; default is 2
1 1 half note   5) modify length dotted notes
2 a note A      
22 b note B      
222 c note C      
2222 2 quarter note      
3 d note D      
33 e note E      
333 f note F      
3333 3 eighth note      
4 g note G      
44 4 sixteenth note      
5 5 thirtysecond (1/32) note      
1 . (period) dotted note      
11 : (colon) double dotted note      
111 ; (semicolon) 2/3 length note      
7 r rest      
8 V

set volume - enter number
from 1-15 after (V5)

88 + increase volume (V+)      
888 - decrease volume (V-)      
9 ( begin coda (repeat section)      
99 ) end coda      
999 @ indicate number of
repeats, e.g., (...)@2

Decoding the format

Let's decode part of the sample ringtone, the Imperial theme from Star Wars (post-conversion). Here is how it should look in your phone:


Sequence Meaning Keys to Enter
*3 set to octave 3 (one octave lower than normal) 00 then 3333
e2 play an E note as a quarter note 33 then 2222
c3 play a C note as an eighth note 22 then 3333
r4 rest for one sixteenth note 7 then 44
#d2 play a D# as a quarter note 000 then 3 then 2222

Armed with this information you should be able to key in any tune for which you have the sheet music. Motorola's format is briefer than RTTTL in that 16th and 32nd notes are indicated as single digits, and the string omits any "default" settings. However the Motorolas cannot adjust tempo (speed) of a tune, and they have no "default" note so the length number is always present. The Motorola format can handle flats, though why Motorola chose to specify sharps and flats before a note is a mystery to me. RTTTL handles only sharps, though of course A# is the same as Bb in the musical scale.

Codas (repeating sections)

Your phone may have the ability to repeat a section of ringtone codes. This is very handy when entering long repetitive ringtones! The C331t, at least, has a limit of 120 characters per ringtone, but if you can find a repeating section you can save yourself lots of space in the end. Simply enclose the section to repeat in (parentheses) and indicate how many times you wish it to repeat. For example this sequence repeats the quarter notes a-b-c three times:


Use the "9" key to enter (, ), and @. In keystrokes this would look something like:

9  2  22  222  99  999 3333

Note that we have not had good luck attempting to nest codas (e.g., "(...(...)...)" and when you are selecting your tone the phone doesn't always seem to want to play the codas. Your mileage may vary.

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