Music in the Western: Notes From the Frontier (Paperback) book cover

Music in the Western

Notes From the Frontier

By Kathryn Kalinak

© 2012 – Routledge

238 pages

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About the Book

Music in the Western: Notes from the Frontier presents essays from both film studies scholars and musicologists on core issues in western film scores: their history, their generic conventions, their operation as part of a narrative system, their functioning within individual filmic texts and their ideological import, especially in terms of the western’s construction of gender, sexuality, race and ethnicity. The Hollywood western is marked as uniquely American by its geographic setting, prototypical male protagonist and core American values. Music in the Western examines these conventions and the scores that have shaped them. But the western also had a resounding international impact, from Europe to Asia, and this volume distinguishes itself by its careful consideration of music in non-Hollywood westerns, such as Ravenous and The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly and in the “easterns” which influenced them, such as Yojimbo. Other films discussed include Wagon Master, High Noon, Calamity Jane, The Big Country, The Unforgiven, Dead Man, Wild Bill, There Will Be Blood and No Country for Old Men.


Ross Care

Corey K. Creekmur

Yuna de Lannoy

K. J. Donnelly

Caryl Flinn

Claudia Gorbman

Kathryn Kalinak

Charles Leinberger

Matthew McDonald

Peter Stanfield

Mariana Whitmer

Ben Winters

The Routledge Music and Screen Media Series offers edited collections of original essays on music in particular genres of cinema, television, video games and new media. These edited essay collections are written for an interdisciplinary audience of students and scholars of music and film and media studies.

Table of Contents

Introduction Kathryn Kalinak Part I: Music in the Classical Hollywood Studio Film 1. The Cowboy Chorus: Narrative and Cultural Functions of the Western Title Song Corey K. Creekmur 2. “A Cowboy Has to Sing”: Walt Disney, John Ford, and Sons of the Pioneers Ross Care 3. Reinventing the Western Film Score: Jerome Moross and The Big Country Mariana Whitmer 4. Silencing the Truth: Music and Identity in The Unforgiven Ben Winters 5. A Tale of Two Cowgirls: Song, Western Novelty Acts, and 1950s Hollywood Caryl Flinn Part 2: Westerns Outside Hollywood 6. Innovation and Imitation: An Analysis of the Soundscape of Akira Kurosawa’s Chambara Westerns Yuna de Lannoy 7. The Dollars Trilogy: “There are two kinds of western heroes, my friend!” Charles Leinberger 8. Europe Cannibalizes the Western: Ravenous K.J. Donnelly 9. “How . . . were we going to make a picture that’s better than this?”: Crossing Borders from East to West in Rashomon and The Outrage Kathryn Kalinak Part 3: The Contemporary Western 10. From the Barroom Floor: American Song, Saloon Culture, and Wild Bill, or “Did you touch my hat?” Peter Stanfield 11. Musical Worlds of the Millennial Western: Dead Man and The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada Claudia Gorbman 12. Mountains, Music, and Murder: Scoring the American West in There Will Be Blood and No Country for Old Men Matthew McDonald

About the Author

Kathryn Kalinak is Professor of English and Film Studies at Rhode Island College. She is the author of Settling the Score: Music in the Classical Hollywood Film (1992), How the West Was Sung: Music in the Westerns of John Ford (2007), and Film Music: A Very Short Introduction (2010). In 2011, she received RIC's Thorp Award for Distinguished Scholarship and Creative Activity.

About the Series

Routledge Music and Screen Media Series

Routledge Music and Screen Media Series

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
MUSIC / General