RTTLMusic Demo

An app for the Kookaberry

Developed by
Tony Strasser


Plays tunes from Ring-Tone Text Language (RTTL) libraries. This musical notation language was used before smartphones and micro:bits to allow cool ringtones. It was developed by Nokia for use on their mobile phones.

Step 1: Setting up

Plug a Loudspeaker into P2

Step 2: Starting the App

Scroll down the menu to RTTLMusicDemo and press Button B.

What is showing on the Home screen?

  1. Top Row: Name of app; Speaker (Spk) in P2 and Touch Sensor (Bt) in P1
  2. Second Row: Speaker in P2
  3. Third Row: The name of the selected tune
  4. Fourth Row: The number of the selected tune
  5. Fifth Row: Button A is Exit from app. Button C scrolls down the tunes menu. Button D scroll up the tunes menu. Button B plays the tune
Step 2: Running the app
  1. Select from list of 27 very short tunes by scrolling up (Button D) or down (Button C). When selected, play by pressing Button B
  2. To stop playing whilst in the middle of a tune, press reset (small button on rear of board)
  3. If reset is pushed the Kookaberry needs to be restarted and the Music Demo app selected again.

RTTL musical notation

A very good RTTL description, including a good explanation of how to convert to/from standard music notation, is contained in the Pearson InformIT online article “The world of mobile ringtones”. Alternatively, the Wikipedia entry for RTTL provides a good basic description.

The code for an RTTL tune consists of a string with three parts separated by colons.

  1. Part 1: Name of ringtone
  2. Part 2: The default values of the major characteristics of the tune. These are the note duration (d), octave (o), and beat/tempo (b) of the tune that are understood by the programme to be the required values unless otherwise specified.
  3. Part 3:  The notes. Each note is separated by a comma and includes, in sequence: a duration specifier, a standard music note, either a, b, c, d, e, f or g, and an octave specifier. If no duration or octave specifier are present, the default applies

Viewing the RTTL musical notation

  1. Connect the Kookaberry to a PC and open KookaIDE. Click on Load and find the lib folder in the connected Kookaberry

  2. Click and open the lib folder; select songs; and click Open. The file will now open in the right hand window of the KookaIDE
  3. The code in the right hand window is the microbit musical notation for all the tunes in the Music Demo library
  4. The instructions for the first two opening notes to the Entertainer are:
    • ‘Entertainer: which is the name of the ring tone
    • d=4 is the default note duration is a quarter note – or crotchet.
    • 0=5 is the default octave which is the fifth octave. RTTL supports playing tunes in four octaves from A below middle C, to four scales up. RTTL refers to these octaves by the numbers 5-8.
    • b=140 is the default beat which is 140 beats per minute.
    • 8d is an eighth note (quaver) of the note D in the default octave (5). It’s frequency is approximately 264 Hz
    • 8d# is an eighth note (quaver) of the note D in the default octave (5). It’s frequency is approximately 311 Hz

The notation for a pause (p) of an eighth note length (quaver) is 8p

Open Question

What are the main differences between the RTTL and micro:bit musical notations? Check out the latter in the Music Demo app description.

Peripherals used by this app

Learning plans that use this app


Last updated:1 week ago


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RTTLMusicDemo App

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