Ringtones on your mobile phone are a very individual thing. Many experiment with them, to find something that they really like. Text notification sounds are actually just as important - far more important in my own case, since most of my friends text me instead of speaking. One person I know has a loud and resonant Swiss Horn as the text message sound on her iPhone. I admire that horn very much.
Some people of course just stay with the standard ringtone that the phone comes with, perhaps never realising that it can be oh-so-easily changed, just by delving into into the settings. Or maybe they do not care. My Dad, for instance, would never have thought it worth a moment's effort to try out some new (and possibly nicer) ringtone on his Nokia. And I have a friend who has somehow ended up with ringtone and text notification sounds that are so soft and soothing that they can't be heard - and are therefore useless for their prime purpose! Unless, that is, her phone happens to be in her hand, or is out on the table in front of her. If it's in her bag, or in another room at home, she never realises that someone wants to contact her, or has some important question to ask her. Which on occasion can be a little frustrating!
Of course, who has not been annoyed by someone (on a bus or train, say) who conducts a hectic social life on his or her phone, gets plenty of calls and messages, and has some frenzied heavy metal number for a ringtone or text notification? And yet, to be an efficient alert, such a cacophony, loud and attention-grabbing, is in theory just right. Perhaps the irritation really arises from the phone owner's sad lack of musical good taste. Not that I'm a judge of musical good taste! It's like my sense of humour: absent.
I also once heard a phone (that belonged to a girl student) make a soft whooshing noise like a puff of breeze whenever a text came through. Whoosh. Just very briefly. Like a breath. That was very cool indeed - but unfortunately, hardly audible.
What do I have on Demelza? For my texts, a knock-knock sound. Like two sharp taps on wood. It can be distinctly heard when the phone is in my bag, even in a busy pub. And for calls, a spirited little tune that came with Eloise and has been transferred to Demelza, that sounds like an urgent bit of flute-playing.
I have (naturally) experimented with ringtones based on some of the music tracks on my phone. Vocal items don't seem to work nearly as well as instrumental passages. And to meet the key requirement of being noticed, all the most effective tracks tend to feature a loud guitar or piano. So Link Wray's Rumble is spot on; so is Scott Joplin's Maple Leaf Rag or The Entertainer. A bit wearing on the ears, these, but likely to cut through pub din and be heard. I also tried Whistling Jack Smith's I Was Kaiser Bill's Batman, but when I actually received a call, it didn't seem piercing enough. So I went back to my flute ringtone.
I suppose that if you constantly get voice calls, anything will do, because once your ears get used to a particular ringtone they will respond instantly, no matter what the background noise. At least, they will if you are not too deaf. I rather fear that many who grew up during the 1970s had way too much exposure to over-loud live music, and may be having a lot of difficulty hearing anything nowadays. This may, for all I know, be even more of a problem for the later Walkman/iPod generation. So perhaps that annoying person on the train who uses a crashy thrashy trashy ringtone is doing so because their hearing is ruined, and a ringtone like that is medically essential, the only way they can hear the call coming through. And indeed they merit a certain sympathy and understanding, if that's not going too far. (It is)