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Ennio Morricone’s Score for Once Upon a Time in the West (Part 2 of 3): Cheyenne’s Theme — 1 Comment

  1. So, in a sense this is somewhat ‘spare’ music – like “The Good, The Bad…” – which suits the film’s sparse landscape and somehat isolated setting.

    This is another excellent analysis; thank you. These films have never been favourites of mine – I’ve often wondered why an Italian would want to duplicate a genre which Americans ‘own’ as particular to their culture and which shaped the American national consciousness (eg. gun ownership). Having said that, westerns are finally costumed morality plays and these films of Sergio Leonie demonstrated skill and artistry. Ennio Morricone played a huge part in that.

    His music has that haunting quality to suit the landscape, but I also feel there is a parodic quality to this score, especially noticeable in the ‘honky tonk’ sections. I never liked to hear whistling in a film score, though, and I wonder whether Morricone was being deeply ironic here – suggesting a laid-back mindset in the outback when the truth is exactly the opposite. (I’ve been involved in a discussion elsewhere about irony in music.)

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