How to make a song on your phone keypad? (how to make a song with keypad)

Wondering How to make a song on your phone keypad? If you are trying to make a unique sounding song then you have probably thought about what instruments you can incorporate into your track that you don’t hear every day. Not many people stop to think about it, but a simple phone keypad is an instrument in its own right, albeit a limited one.  

We decided to tackle the question of what notes you are actually playing when you sit down and noodle around on your phone, and boy is it a weird story. Basically you are playing 2 notes at once when you press a key on your keypad.

This leads to a deep rabbit hole to explain how computers were initially used to detect high (Binary 1) and low (Binary 0) signals in the modernized computer exchanges that have since come and (mostly) gone.

How to make a song on your phone keypad

How many DTMF tones are there?

DTMF has 8 tones, but as we mentioned earlier, these are separated into high and low tones that a computer can translate into binary. So if each key has 2 tones, then we end up with 16 frequencies in total.

All you need to know is that these signals are called DTMF (Dual Tone Multi-Frequency) and they take a combination of 2 notes and basically add them together.

I’m not sure what you were expecting, but I thought that the sequence of notes was going to correspond with a scale, but this is a little different. I have put a table together that explains what each key produces, and what frequencies are added together to give us that tone.

DTMF Table of Notes and Frequencies

KeypadLow (HZ)NoteHigh (HZ)NoteResult (HZ)Note
1697F5 minus 4 cents1209D6 plus 50 cents1906A#6 plus 38 cents
2697F5 minus 4 cents1336E6 plus 23 cents2033B6 plus 50 cents
3697F5 minus 4 cents1447F#6 minus 39 cents2144C7 plus 42 cents
4770G5 minus 31 cents1209D6 plus 50 cents1979B6 plus 3 cents
5770G5 minus 31 cents1336E6 plus 23 cents2106C7 plus 11 cents
6770G5 minus 31 cents1447F#6 minus 39 cents2217C#7 plus 0 cents
7852G#5 plus 44 cents1209D6 plus 50 cents2061C7 minus 27 cents
8852G#5 plus 44 cents1336E6 plus 23 cents2188C#7 minus 23 cents
9852G#5 plus 44 cents1447F#6 minus 39 cents2299D7 minus 37 cents
0941A#5 plus 16 cents1209D6 plus 50 cents2150C7 plus 47 cents
*941A#5 plus 16 cents1336E6 plus 23 cents2277C#7 plus 46 cents
#941A#5 plus 16 cents1447F#6 minus 39 cents2388D7 plus 28 cents
Keypad Frequencies and Notes on your phone

What songs can you play on a keypad?

If you have ever been bored and started playing a little song on your phone with the keypad, then you are not alone. Many people have tried to get a song or two playing on their keypads.

Back in the late 90’s and early 2000’s it was actually a feature on some cell phones. You could record your own ring tones by using the keypad to punch in the notes of a song.

The reults would vary from person to person, and I can remember a friend helping me figure out Black Sabbath’s NIB on my Sony Eriscon so I could have a cool ring tone. Fun Times.

To answer the question of what song’s we can play on a phone’s keypad it must be said that you can actually play quite a lot.

Although the notes that are available to us are not chromatically sequential, ie , notes that play from a scale – but there is enough here for us to have a little fun.

How do you play Mary Had a Little Lamb on a phone keyboard?

Mary had a little lamb is one of those songs that your guitar teacher normally forces you to learn when you are just getting started out, so we can start with that song if you really want to. (I don’t know why you would, but hey, who am I to judge?)

Mary Had a Little Lamb on a keypad goes a little something like this:

6, 5, 4, 5, 6, 6, 6

5, 5, 5

6, #, #

6, 5, 4, 5, 6, 6, 6, 6, 5, 5, 6, 5, 4

Happy Birthday to you!

1, 1, 2, 1, 6, 3

1, 1, 2, 1, 9, 6

1, 1, #, 9, 6, 3, 2

9, 6, 9, 3, 6, 3

Black Sabbath NIB

2, 2, 1, 2

0, 4, 2, 2, 1

2, #, 0, *

How do you play Happy Birthday on dial pad?

If you missed it above, here it is again. 

Happy Birthday to you!

1, 1, 2, 1, 6, 3

1, 1, 2, 1, 9, 6

1, 1, #, 9, 6, 3, 2

9, 6, 9, 3, 6, 3

How can I play music on my phone?

It’s really easy! Simply open up your dialer on your phone and start tapping away. Then you need to make sure that you don’t press the green dial button either, otherwise you could accidentally call someone, and then play then happy birthday from your phone. Not ideal.

If you are looking for more musical territory to conquer on your phone then you should think about installing a piano app that lets you tickle the ivories at your leisure. 

In Summary: How to make a song on your phone keypad?

We hope that you have enjoyed this fun and hopefully informative article about how to play songs on your phone.

Its a dying art that is sure to fade into obscurity in the coming decades as telephone numbers become less relevant for people as they find alternative ways to communicate with one another. 

We hope that you will share this article with your friends and family so that they too can play songs on their phone.