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View Full Version : What musical instrument is used in western movies?


Sampiro
12-06-2006, 10:35 PM
In old westerns (The Good, Bad, & the Ugly and before) there was often a scene where the gunslingers faced each other and there would be a sequence of closeups on their faces and their guns and their hands as they stood still and waited to draw and there was a particular type of music that usually played during that sequence. That's the best way I can think of to explain the type of music I'm asking about- sometimes it was guitar, but usually, such as in TG,TB&TU, it was something else, or perhaps a particular type of electric guitar maybe...

Anyway, does anybody know what type of music that is called or what type of instruments are used in producing it?

Sorry if this is too vague (but we can agree that society is to blame).

Squink
12-06-2006, 10:41 PM
There was a Jew's harp (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jew's_harp) twanging prominently in TG,TB&TU theme.

lissener
12-07-2006, 01:20 AM
There was also a harmonica theme in Once Upon a Time in the West.

thirdname
12-07-2006, 06:22 AM
Does the music go like this?

Oo-ay-oo-ay-oooo
Wah, wah wah,
Oo-ay-oo-ay-oooo
Wah, wah WAH,
Oo-ay-oo-ay-oooo
Wah, wah-wah-wah,
Oo-ay-oo-ay-oooo
Wah, wah.

If so, I have no idea what it is.

madmonk28
12-07-2006, 07:21 AM
Does the music go like this?

Oo-ay-oo-ay-oooo
Wah, wah wah,
Oo-ay-oo-ay-oooo
Wah, wah WAH,
Oo-ay-oo-ay-oooo
Wah, wah-wah-wah,
Oo-ay-oo-ay-oooo
Wah, wah.

If so, I have no idea what it is.
I just have to chime in and say that was a pretty good written representation of the music from The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.

MrFloppy
12-07-2006, 07:47 AM
"Go ahead, make my day"

I thought the oa-ay-oo-ay-oos where voices.

Now I'll have to watch it :)

Slithy Tove
12-07-2006, 07:47 AM
You mean the ocarina?

Polycarp
12-07-2006, 08:15 AM
You mean the ocarina?

Can you provide a Link to that ocarina? In time? ;)

groman
12-07-2006, 10:04 AM
The music in question is in the beginning of the trailer: http://youtube.com/watch?v=13EUXqIwDkQ

My guess would be ocarina for one part and I'd almost guess some processed/distorted/modified harmonica or theremin for the other.

Hell could be a Univox through a Wah! :)

DrCube
12-07-2006, 10:11 AM
"Go ahead, make my day"

I thought the oa-ay-oo-ay-oos where voices.

Now I'll have to watch it :)
Um... wasn't that quote from "Dirty Harry"?

For what it's worth, that "oo-ay-oo-ay-ooh" music was written by Ennio Morricone (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ennio_Morricone). Just in case that helps track down the instruments involved.

Hampshire
12-07-2006, 10:32 AM
We used to play the "oo-ay-oo-ay-oos" for fun on the plastic recorders (http://pteratunes.org.uk/recorder%20logo.jpg) back in 4th grade music class.

Frylock
12-07-2006, 11:18 AM
Sampiro, is the music people are talking about from The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly, the same music that you are talking about?

If so, then that music is not played during alot of gunfight scenes in westerns--it was played in that movie, and in subsequent movies in scenes intended to parody or otherwise comically recall that movie.

As to the instrumentation, I've always wondered about this. Particular the wah-wahs. It sounds like voices, but that would be strange.

-FrL-

Frylock
12-07-2006, 11:19 AM
Sampiro, is the music people are talking about from The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly, the same music that you are talking about?

If so, then that music is not played during alot of gunfight scenes in westerns--it was played in that movie, and in subsequent movies in scenes intended to parody or otherwise comically recall that movie.

As to the instrumentation, I've always wondered about this. Particular the wah-wahs. It sounds like voices, but that would be strange.

-FrL-

I meant to edit in "to my knowledge" in that second paragraph above, but forgot to before saving. Now I look alot more sure of myself than I actually am. Apologies.

-FrL-

AskNott
12-07-2006, 11:27 AM
It sure sounds like voices to me, perhaps miked from the top of a stairwell.

yabob
12-07-2006, 11:42 AM
Frankly, I think the opening bit in the theme is just a flute for the "oo-ay-oo-ays" and a muted trombone for the "wah wahs".

pulykamell
12-07-2006, 11:44 AM
The music in question is in the beginning of the trailer: http://youtube.com/watch?v=13EUXqIwDkQ

My guess would be ocarina for one part and I'd almost guess some processed/distorted/modified harmonica or theremin for the other.

Hell could be a Univox through a Wah! :)

I'm pretty sure the first part of the theme is an ocarina, and the second part (wah-wah-wah), sounds like a harmonica of some sort. Apparently, they did use an "electric harmonica" when recording the soundtrack, so I bet that's what it is. It sure as heck sounds like a processed harmonic to me.

As for the OP, I'm not sure what exactly the music is you're referring to. I never watched a lot of westerns, but when I think gunfight scene, I sometimes hear that Western heavily-reverbed, almost Dick Dale-like, guitar.

Argent Towers
12-07-2006, 11:49 AM
Yeah, that's a good discription of the guitar sound. The same kind of music is used for Revolver Ocelot's scenes in Metal Gear Solid: Snake Eater.

Plynck
12-07-2006, 11:51 AM
I was always partial to upright saloon pianos with thumbtacks in the hammers, playing "Camptown Ladies". To much Prairie Home Companion, I guess...Sorry if this is too vague (but we can agree that society is to blame).Agreed. We'll be shooting them in the back too.

MrFloppy
12-07-2006, 12:08 PM
Um... wasn't that quote from "Dirty Harry"?



Yup. How about I like big fat men like you. When they fall they make more noise.

Spoke
12-07-2006, 12:17 PM
In my mind's ear, I'm hearing an ocarina and a muted trombone for The Good, the Bad and The Ugly theme, along with some background vocalizations.

Jake
12-07-2006, 12:32 PM
Yep. Ocarina all right. I can hear the plastic tone.

Tastes of Chocolate
12-07-2006, 01:07 PM
I've no idea if the info is correct, but the Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ocarina) article on ocarinas lists the theme from The Good, the Bad and the Ugly as someplace the ocarina is used.

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