Dramatic Vocalise Database

Morricone, Ennio (b. 1928)

For a Few Dollars More [Per qualche dollaro in più] (1965)

Morricone’s music was the most complex score of the ‘Dollars’ trilogy, with the incidental theme ‘narrating’ the entire film. It marked the beginning of Morricone’s use of musical riffs, trills or twangs associated with individual characters. Each protagonist has a musical signature. Manco has a flute, the colonel a twang on a Jew’s harp and Indio an ominous Rodrigo guitar riff and a tolling bell.” 1

“Very little music is associated with the ambiguous colonel (staccato piano notes, drums, twangs or oboe), and what is used has ominous overtones, as we don’t know where his allegiances lie. In the Italian print, a bugle plays as the Prophet tells Manco of Mortimer’s army career. Indio’s marijuana joints are even given a sound effect: Manco smokes cheroots, Mortimer a pipe, but every time Indio lights a reefer, a high-pitched whine appears on the soundtrack. The same sound effect is also used in the scene where Mortimer kills Callaway—it seems killing is a drug too.” 2



Opening Credits

Begins silently, a whistling bounty hunter (Sergio Leone) on a ledge shoots a lone horseback rider in the distance. At 0:01:07 the music begins—Jew’s harp, whistling at first, gunshots with each title on the screen. Ocarina, tubular bells, gruffing chorus, Fender stratocaster, snare drum—later wordless male chorus. Not a folk-based, orchestral soundtrack like Hollywood westerns, but instead more like rock-n-roll (according to Christopher Frayling in the audio commentary)

“The title music is structured exactly like Fistful, as a ‘pop’ arrangement. The first verse features a Jew’s harp and a whistled melody (provided by Alessandroni). The second verse adds an echoing drum, a flute, brushed snare and a church bell. By the time the Cantori enter (again with guttural lyrics—‘We defy,’ ‘We say no’ and ‘We can win’), the tune is in full flow, with drums and the sound of Winchester rifles being levered keeping tempo, while an electric guitar takes the melody for the chorus. Throughout the early part of the film, this theme accompanies Eastwood. In a humorous aside Alessandroni has the choir chanting: ‘They robbed the bank’ during the Santa Cruz robbery chase.” 3

Musical Watch and a Shooting

El Indio (Gian Maria Volonté) has the wife (Diana Faenza) and child (Francesca Leone) of Tomaso (Lorenzo Robledo), Indio's traitor, shot. A musical watch begins its tune at ~0:26:01, accompanied by background strings, then strumming guitar and wordless voices. It is interrupted by an outburst on pipe organ, then returns. The scene ends with the shooting of Tomaso.

Includes “Sixty Seconds to What?” See the commentary for the final clip of this movie.

Monco Frees Sancho Perez

clip 4

clip 5

Posse Leaves El Paso for Santa Cruz

Use of music from the opening credits to accompany a horseback ride.

Robbing the Bank at El Paso

Later in the film, the Title Theme “is replaced by the soaring ‘Vice of Killing’—featuring drums, chorus and Edda Dell’Orso’s skyscraping [wordless] soprano solo.” 4

Entering Agua Caliente

Features “The Vice of Killing,” also used in the previous clip.

“The Musical Pocket Watch”/“Sixty Seconds To What?”/“Goodbye Colonel”/End Credits

The main theme associated with Indio is the watch carillon. In the final duel, the chimes become his death-knell. Indio has set up a shootout he can’t fail to win. While the colonel looks down at his pistol on the ground and Indio itches to draw, quiet strings (long, sad and mournful) accompany the face-off. Indio looks at the picture of the girl in the watch lid, then at Mortimer and sees a similarity, finally telling Indio who Mortimer is. When a louder watch interrupts the fading chimes and Manco makes his presence known, the gundown music marks the start of a fairer fight. This piece, known as ‘Sixty Seconds to What?’ (released in Italy as ‘La Resa dei Conti’ or ‘The Steeling of Accounts’) was originally recorded with lyrics, which were later ditched. ‘Sixty Seconds’ has already been introduced to us during Tomaso’s execution, but the two versions of the piece differ. At the church, the Flamenco guitar passage (played by Bruno D’Amario Battisti) is followed by a blast of church organ (actually Bach’s ‘Fugue in D Minor’). In the finale, the guitar is followed by a trumpet solo (played by N. Culasso). Soundtrack releases combine these into one long piece, but again Morricone has made a point—organ for church, trumpet for ‘arena.’

“After Indio’s death, the dialogue between Mortimer and Manco explains the revenge motive, reinforced by Morricone’s subtle underscoring. Manco looks at the picture in the watch and notes a family resemblance. ‘Naturally,’ answers Mortimer, ‘Between brother and sister.’ Manco says that they have become rich, but for Mortimer revenge is enough. Mortimer listens to the chimes, while Morricone’s ‘Goodbye Colonel’ accompanies the scene, again incorporating the carillon, but now with lush strings and chorus. His sister avenged, Mortimer is content and rides into the sunset. A final gag by Leone sees Manco calculating his bounty money, shooting Groggy (‘Thought I was having trouble with my adding . . . it’s all right now’) and loading the death wagon full of corpses. This shifts the emphasis back to Eastwood (who has been second lead to Van Cleef throughout), as Morricone’s title theme swells on the soundtrack, to end the film on a high.” 5


1 Howard Hughes, Once Upon a Time in the Italian West: The Filmgoers’ Guide to Spaghetti Westerns (London; New York: I. B. Tauris, 2004), 51–52.

2 Ibid., 53.

3 Ibid., 52.

4 Ibid.

5 Ibid., 53.