Once upon a time in the West
Honour or burden: There's only a few film composers whose name is as closely linked to a certain movie genre as is Ennio Morricone's.
The old stereotype dates back to 1964 when Ennio Morricone was asked to write the soundtrack for Sergio Leone's Italo-Western-movie "For A Few Dollars More". Though it was not Morricone's first job for the film industry, "For A Few Dollars More" gained international success and spread the Italian composer's name all over the world.
The minimal and atmospheric score helped establish the "Italo-Western", a somewhat strange combination of American Cowboy Western theme and Italian setting/scriptwriting. Even more, Ennio Morricone's work set a new standard in writing soundtracks: He deliberately refused to use orchestral themes at length and rather wrote simple melodies which were often to be played by pipes. However, Morricone used orchestral parts as well, and thus created a mix of classical instruments and the more humble harmonica or electric guitar.
The best known example for a Morricone-style arrangement must be the score he wrote for the movie "C'era una volta il west (Once upon a time in the West)" starring Charles Bronson, Henry Fonda and Claudia Cardinale, which turned out to be the breakthrough for Sergio Leone and Ennio Morricone.
A simple melody, played by e-guitar
and harmonica, forms the nucleus of the soundtrack. Morricone later pointed
out that his intention was to make the harmonica the characteristical
instrument of the film, hence writing the melody for this special instrument.
However uncommon these new sound colors might have been, they just showed
Morricone's constant development as a most gifted musician.
Ennio Morricone is definitely more than a score writer