MORRICONE, Ennio

(1928– )
   Morricone was born in Rome and began working with Italian films early in his career. He is one of the most prolific composers for film in cinema history. He became famous in the 1960s for his work with Sergio Leone and spaghetti Westerns, especially for A Fistful of Dollars (1964). The music was a radical departure from typical Western cinema music of Dimitri Tiompkin or Elmer Bernstein.
   One of the differences is in the way his soundtracks code the script, actually revealing elements of the plot, characters, and themes. Christopher Frayling has called this kind of work “caricatural soundtracks.” In A Fistful of Dollars, Clint Eastwood’s character’s actions and dialogue are complemented by high-pitched trills or single notes on a mouth harp. In For a Few Dollars More (1965), the same trill (and harp note) complements the Man with No Name, a lowerpitched trill signals Colonel Mortimer, and a chord on Spanish guitar indicates El Indio. As Indio lights up a joint, we hear an electronic whirr on the soundtrack—clearly indicating that this is no ordinary cigarette. In The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966), each of the characters of the title has a distinctive musical phrase, a trill, a whine—sometimes whistled, sometimes sung—all taken from the opening bars of the title theme. At times these musical phrases are the only indication of what a character is thinking: for example, a distinctive trill cluing us that Eastwood’s character is not really drunk in A Fistful of Dollars. These musical signals can also cue the audience to laugh when moments of tension are over. Even when characters are off-screen, these musical signals can indicate their presence—the trill and whistle theme at each entrance of the Man with No Name, for example.
   For his theme music, Morricone uses musical sound effects, bits and pieces from main themes to represent characters, grand orchestral passages for action sequences and panoramic landscape shots, majestic trumpet solos backed up by syncopated chords, and bullfight music at times. The main title themes might consist of simple electric guitar lines backed “by the addition of yells (‘Quick, get back’), shrieks, gunshots, rifles being cocked, church bells, whipping sounds, trills, whines, rhythmic jew’s harp, and other assorted electronic effects, to ‘punctuate’the basically traditional Western score” (Frayling 1981, 167).
   Morricone had scored several Westerns before meeting up with Leone. Initially, Leone was unimpressed with Morricone’s work, but the collaboration for the music of the Dollars Trilogy proved to be one of the greatest in cinema history, producing some of the most memorable theme music ever and introducing a new kind of style and verve that changed Westerns forever.

Historical Dictionary of Westerns in Cinema. . 2012.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Morricone, Ennio — (1928 )    Musician and film composer. The most prolific film composer in the history of cinema, Morricone has written the scores of over 500 films and television series, in addition to more than 100 other musical compositions, including sonatas …   Guide to cinema

  • Morricone, Ennio — (1928 )    Musician and film composer. The most prolific film composer in the history of cinema, Morricone has written the scores of over 500 films and television series, in addition to more than 100 other musical compositions, including sonatas …   Historical dictionary of Italian cinema

  • Morricone, Ennio — • МОРРИКО НЕ (Morricone) Эннио (р. 10.11.1928)    итал. композитор. Окончил консерваторию Санта Чечилия (ученик Г. Петрасси). В кино получил известность как автор музыки к первому итал. вестерну За пригоршню долларов (1964), написанной под псевд …   Кино: Энциклопедический словарь

  • Morricone, Ennio — ► (n. 1928) Compositor cinematográfico italiano. Bandas sonoras de Sacco y Vanzetti (1971), Novecento (1976), La misión (1986), Cine Paradiso (1988), Átame (1990), Cannone inversa (1999), etc …   Enciclopedia Universal

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  • Ennio Morricone — Morricone at the 2007 Cannes Film Festival Background information Also known as Maestro …   Wikipedia

  • Morricone — Ennio Morricone im UN Hauptquartier(2007) Ennio Morricone (* 10. November 1928 in Trastevere, Rom) ist ein italienischer Filmmusik Komponist und Dirigent. Er hat auch unter den Pseudonymen Dan Savio und …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Ennio Morricone — au festival de Cannes 2007 Naissance 10 novem …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Morricone — Ennio Morricone Ennio Morricone Naissance 10 novembre 1928 …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Morricone — Morricone,   Ennio, italienischer Komponist, * Rom 10. 11. 1928; studierte bei G. Petrassi und gehörte der Improvisationsgruppe Nuova Consonanza an. Morricone wurde international bekannt durch die Musik zu zahlreichen Filmen, u. a. »C era una… …   Universal-Lexikon

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