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The Westworld motion picture soundtrack, composed for the original 1973 film by Fred Karlin, was first released in 1973. Since then, it has been rereleased several times, most recently in February 2017 by WaterTower Music.

Most of the releases, whether on LP, cassettes (MC), CD or via digital distribution, consist of a 12-track soundtrack, composed, performed, arranged and adapted by Karlin unless otherwise noted.

It should be noted the soundtrack, whilst it's quite extensive, does not contain all individual pieces from the film. Examples of such omitted tracks include the Westworld jailbreak music, the music heard during the morning activation of the three parks, another major variation on the robot ambient leitmotif, one minor Medieval World theme, and some of the minor Western music heard at the saloon.

Musical themes and instrumentation

The original film's soundtrack established the franchise's tradition of combining traditional and classical music, music typical of Western films, and electronic ambient music into an immersive film score, bringing together ecclectic and anachronistic musical elements. Karlin's compositions for the film can be broadly divided into leitmotifs reflecting the historical settings of the film’s three parks and into leitmotifs covering the topic of robotics, advanced technology and entertainment artifice. Certain themes then also combine both types of leitmotifs, usually in a deliberately intermeshed, overlapping manner.

Electronic music

The major electronic theme of the soundtrack is the leitmotif for the robots and their maintenance. A slow and haunting melody, it evokes a sense of mystery and otherworldliness, and includes brief sound effects with a metallic tone. The leitmotif is heard most distinctly in the track "Robot Repair", but appears throughout the entire film in several variations, including shorter snippets in otherwise different themes. Though an artificial sound dominates the robot leitmotif, it is interspersed with some minor traditional musical elements. These are meant to resemble more contemplative ambient music, heard in some spaghetii Western films. In this way, the leitmotif reflects both the idea of state-of-the-art, unfathomable humanoid machines and the idea of the wide and often mysterious landscape of the Old West. The character of the Gunslinger has his own theme, more overtly ominous and foreboding, though building upon the elements of the robot leitmotif. Some of the Gunslinger theme’s major distinctions are sound effects similar to reverbating, echoing thuds or ripples, and a rhytmic, but cacophonic tune, evoking the robot’s steady, relentless gait. Contemporary instruments used by Karlin for creating the electronic part of the score included the Yamaha A5 keyboard, ARP 2600 synthesizer and an echoplex. [1]

Traditional and classical music

Traditional instrumentation predominates in the more carefree first half of the film’s storyline. Most of this music is related to the Westworld park. A player piano is heard prominently in the track "Bar Room Piano" and the first half of "Welcome to Westworld". Guitar, banjo and violin tunes are heard prominently in the second half of "Welcome to Westworld" and in "Stagecoach Arrival", "The Western Warble" and "Theme from Westworld". The track "The Western Warble" also includes whistling vocals. The Medieval World park has two larger leitmotifs of its own ("Medieval World", "The Queen’s Indiscretion"), based on medieval and Renaissance era music and played on period instruments.

Combined approach and experimentation

The use of traditional instruments in the score wasn't limited to leitmotifs representing the historical settings of the individual parks. Karlin engaged in some experimentation as well, especially for the tracks that combined traditional and electronic instruments and specially modified sound effects. As noted by Karlin in a 1994 interview, unusual use of traditional instruments on the soundtrack included that of a deliberately out-of-tune violin and out-of-tune banjo. These are heard prominently during the chase sequence ("Chase From Westworld", "Chase From Westworld - Part 2") as sinisterly echoing string instruments. Their frantic sound is meant to contrast with the earlier laid-back usage of the same instruments, heard up until that point. In keeping with the merger of the historical and the modern, the sound of the two acoustic instruments often blends together with the electronic ambients and leitmotifs, representing the robots and artifice of the parks. One interesting musical idea featured in the Chase theme consists of the out-of-tune string instruments imitating the rhytm of a galloping horse, and at certain points, also the sound and rhytm of a player piano. Jazz-influenced instrumentation is also heard briefly at certain parts of the two Chase themes. [2]

Another theme to feature odd use of traditional instrumentation, combined with electronic music, is the aforementioned Gunslinger theme. One of the minor saloon themes includes piano and guitar music that has a somewhat anachronistic feel to its melody and is played in a non-19th century manner. This might be an early example of a work in the Westworld franchise employing the idea of anachronistic music, disguised by seemingly period-fitting instruments, something used to great effect in the later HBO series.

"Westworld: The Original Sound Track Album" (1973) Track Listing

The original release of the film’s soundtrack album was developed and licensed by MGM Records Inc. in 1973, and published by the Hastings Music Corp., to coincide with the theatrical release of the film. The release was on vinyl LP only. [3] The album’s Canadian release and distribution were overseen by Polydor Ltd. [4]

Side A

No. Title Length Notes
A1 The Western Warble 2:45 Stereotypical Western theme, with string instruments and whistling vocals. Heard most prominently during the end credits.
A2 Theme From Westworld 2:23 Laid-back Western/country theme, with string instruments and percussions.
A3 Chase From Westworld 2:33 The first variation on the Chase theme, heard in the second half of the film. A theme blending the traditional, electronic and jazz influences of the film score. Adapted in the soundtrack of the HBO TV series as Nitro Heist and Sweetwater. The thudding sound effects from the theme were also adapted for the HBO TV series’ track Freeze All Motor Functions.
A4 Welcome To Westworld 2:25 Player piano and string instruments Western tunes. Heard during the new visitors suiting up and choosing their equipment at the Westworld entry area.
A5 Robot Repair 4:00 The main ambient leitmotif of the film, corresponding with the Delos resort’s robots and their maintenance. Heard with several variations throughout the film, as well as in the last half minute of the end titles. An equivalent of the predominant host theme (Freeze All Motor Functions) from the soundtrack of the HBO TV series.
A6 Medieval World 1:30 Period instrument music, heard during feasting scenes in Medieval World.

Side B

No. Title Length Notes
B1 Stagecoach Arrival 1:00 Western theme, with brass and string instruments. Heard during John and Peter’s arrival to the Western town.
B2 The Queen's Indiscretion 1:50 Period instrument music, heard during personal scenes in Medieval World.
B3 The Gunslinger 3:02 The Gunslinger’s leitmotif, with a ruthless, relentless rhytm, and a combination of electronic and string instruments.
B4 Bar Room Piano 2:15 Player piano theme, heard at the Westworld saloon.
B5 Hovercraft Muzak 3:29 A brief variant of the robot leitmotif, followed by laid-back lounge muzak heard aboard the hovercraft.
B6 Chase From Westworld Part 2 4:37 The second variation on the Chase theme, heard in the second half of the film. A theme blending the traditional, electronic and jazz influences of the film score. Adapted in the soundtrack of the HBO TV series as Nitro Heist and Sweetwater.

"Westworld: : The Original Sound Track Album" (1986) Track Listing

The first major rerelease of the soundtrack album occurred in 1986, via MCA Records, as part of their MCA Classics Soundtracks series. The rerelease was available both on vinyl LP and cassettes (MC). Mastered at MCA/Whitney recording studio, Glendale, California.

[5] [6]

Side A

No. Title Length
A1 The Western Warble 2:45
A2 Theme From Westworld 2:23
A3 Chase From Westworld 2:33
A4 Welcome To Westworld 2:25
A5 Robot Repair 4:00
A6 Medieval World 1:30

Side B

No. Title Length
B1 Stagecoach Arrival 1:00
B2 The Queen's Indiscretion 1:50
B3 The Gunslinger 3:02
B4 Bar Room Piano 2:15
B5 Hovercraft Muzak 3:29
B6 Chase From Westworld Part 2 4:37


"Westworld: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack" (2000) Track Listing

CD release. Reissue of the album by Chapter III Records, as part of their "Chapter III Classics" edition. [7]

No. Title Length
1 The Western Warble 2:45
2 Theme From Westworld 2:23
3 Chase From Westworld 2:33
4 Welcome To Westworld 2:25
5 Robot Repair 4:00
6 Medieval World 1:30
7 Stagecoach Arrival 1:00
8 The Queen's Indiscretion 1:50
9 The Gunslinger 3:02
10 Bar Room Piano 2:15
11 Hovercraft Muzak 3:29
12 Chase From Westworld Part 2 4:37

"Westworld: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack" (2017) Track Listing

Online digital release. Reissue of the album by WaterTower Music in February 2017, as part of their "Warner Bros. Archive Collection" edition. [8]

No. Title Length
1 The Western Warble 2:45
2 Theme From Westworld 2:23
3 Chase From Westworld 2:33
4 Welcome To Westworld 2:25
5 Robot Repair 4:00
6 Medieval World 1:30
7 Stagecoach Arrival 1:00
8 The Queen's Indiscretion 1:50
9 The Gunslinger 3:02
10 Bar Room Piano 2:15
11 Hovercraft Muzak 3:29
12 Chase From Westworld Part 2 4:37

Composer's commentary

The following two paragraphs, discussing the score for Westworld, first appeared in an interview with composer Fred Karlin for a 1994 issue of Soundtrack Magazine. [9]

Daniel Mangodt (interviewer): "An interesting diptych is made by WESTWORLD and FUTUREWORLD. The music sounds very metallic and there are even some “imitations” of’ Bernstein’s MAGNIFICENT 7."
Fred Karlin (composer): "It wasn’t meant to be an imitation but it was definitely inspired by Bernstein’s score, by the old tradition of western scoring as I knew it. The concept was that the robots are human, except they aren’t. In every way they are, except you can kill them and they are repaired, especially when they gain control of themselves and the chase begins and they are no longer controlled by the technicians. My feeling was to use almost completely acoustic instruments, but manipulate them electronically, so they weren’t quite human. That was the concept that triggered this and therefore I would do the same thing with the style which would be evocative of the western. For instance I had a single violin – I played all this music incidentally – that captured this horse galloping, but it was manipulated so that it sounded much more than one violin and secondly it didn’t sound like any violin, because I wanted that shrieking, primitive quality. So it’s a little electronic, but manipulated from an acoustic instrument. The same thing with my trumpet. I use the echoplex, to give it a more electronic feel. There were few electronic instruments used, and almost exclusively in some scenes when the robots are repaired at night. That, I felt, should be more electronic."
— 1994 interview, Soundtrack Magazine Vol.13/No.52/1994[[src]]

External Links

References

  1. Westworld - Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (Chapter III Records, 2000, CD) at Discogs.com
  2. Interview with Fred Karlin for Soundtrack Magazine (1994), archived at The Cinemascore & Soundtrack Archives website
  3. Westworld - The Original Sound Track Album (MGM Records Inc., Hastings Music Corp, Vinyl, LP) at Discogs.com
  4. Westworld - The Original Sound Track Album (MGM Records Inc., Hastings Music Corp, Polydor Ltd., Vinyl, LP) at Discogs.com
  5. Westworld - The Original Sound Track Album (MCA records, Vinyl, LP) at Discogs.com
  6. Westworld - The Original Sound Track Album (MCA records, Cassette, Dolby B NR / HX Pro) at Discogs.com
  7. Westworld - Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (Chapter III Records, 2000, CD) at Discogs.com
  8. Westworld: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack at WaterTower-Music.com
  9. Interview with Fred Karlin for Soundtrack Magazine (1994), archived at The Cinemascore & Soundtrack Archives website
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