Sound atmosphere of the western movie genre

Hello, I would like to use VCV Rack to create the music and sound design for my next WESTERN shorts. I am very influenced by the music of (Italian) westerns, especially those of Ennio MORRICONE. The raw, almost “acid” feeling in some pieces of The Big Gundown by John ZORN also interests me. The orchestral music type patches, like the one proposed by Nick Dutton, also correspond to my western score project.
Inspired by the sound atmosphere of the productions above, I wish to create soundtracks that suggest a story/narrative by mobilizing the musical tradition of western movies.

The first approach I’m considering is to use VCV’s HOST module to work with vsts (of guitars, tubular bells, trumpets, harmonicas, percussion, etc.) and to sequence them in a more or less generative/random way.

I’m looking forward to hearing from you guys if you have any patch, modules or special techniques/ideas to suggest me. New in the world of modular synthesis, I am very grateful to all of you who will bring me your experiences and your precious advices.


Hi, Tanguy! I am doing something similar, but with jazzy noir stuff. And funny enough it is also for a short clip! Though it would take me maybe half a year to make…

Anyway, the more I am trying to create something, the more I am unsure about VCV as an instrument for that kinda stuff. That said, the results are not this bad. So maybe I am wrong. But that’s like playing a very simple game on the most complicated controller… with your eyes closed. I think if you have VSTs or real instruments, you should probably try and do that in Ableton or Cubase or Logic or Pro Tools or whatever else. Well, that is if your goal isn’t something that you could achieve with modular environment only… Like randomizing something on the fly and so on…

Thank you for your answer! I am aware that VCV is not the most intuitive tool for what I plan to do. I usually work on Ableton, and a combination between this software and VCV seems unavoidable to me, especially concerning questions of correspondence between sounds and images in the film editing process. However, I think that the aspects of real-time sound generation, chaos and randomness, etc., that VCV’s modular synthesis provides make it possible to produce more contemporary western music. We can consider that the western film genre is dead. Rather than playing with its corpse, I prefer to autopsy it. I think that the use of modular synthesis allows to re-interrogate certain stereotypes promoted by the music of western films. The use of VCV is rich in meaning for my work because I also make movies (which have no beginning or end) generated in real time by a computer program.

I see! Well, I think you are the only one who can imagine what you want. At least, I can’t imagine the music for that kind of project. Maybe somebody else can and they would help you… I mean the process and the tricks and all. What I think you would need though is a SFZ player by Squinky Labs to play the piano SFZs or something else, cause you could use the VCV host module and play the VST plugins, but you could also download the sample packs (SFZs) and play it in SFZ player. That’s easier, I think. Also you might need the mastering modules like to maybe degrade the sound a bit… But of course, that depends on how you are imagining the sound… So yeah. Good luck with your project!

I had a friend who played on “harmonica man” on the Zorn album. He said they did two takes, but to save tape they just pot then second take on some unused channels of the same tape. When they mixed it they used both takes mixed together, even though they were not in sync.

Fantastic! I will try this technique with my fostex multitracker. Do you think it’s possible to get a similar effect by slightly desynchronizing two identical sequencers on VCV? Maybe it will be more realistic if lfo’s control the tempo of each sequencer?

Hello I have created some similar sounds to Morricone’s ‘Two mules for Sister Sarah’ using this patch: It’s all done by the ‘Meta’ option on the drop done menu of the Macro Oscillator. Hope this helps.

Morricone Western -Sister Sara’s mule.vcv (4.8 KB)