Polyphonic Ringtone

What Does Polyphonic Ringtone Mean?

A polyphonic ringtone is a mobile ringtone capable of playing up to 40 notes at the same time and is more advanced than its predecessor, the standard monophonic tone, which plays one note at a time. The polyphonic ringtone uses sequencing technology to play several notes at the same time for rich, harmonious and high-quality sound.


A typical polyphonic ringtone is in the Musical Instrument Digital Interface (MIDI) file format.

Techopedia Explains Polyphonic Ringtone

Polyphonic ringtones produce better sound quality and melodies because they emulate real instruments by combining several instrumental sounds at the same time. Comparing a monophonic ringtone to a polyphonic ringtone is analogous to comparing a woodwind instrument to a small orchestra.

Depending on make and model, a mobile device can support a range of four to 72 simultaneous instrumental sounds delivered as close approximations of instrumental melodies, or polyphonic ringtones. However, polyphonic ringtones do not produce or play original or digital sound recordings.


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Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.