The score is composed by frequent Leone collaborator Ennio Morricone, whose distinctive original compositions, containing gunfire, whistling (by John O'Neill), and yodeling permeate the film. The main theme, resembling the howling of a coyote (which blends in with an actual coyote howl in the first shot after the opening credits), is a two-note melody that is a frequent motif, and is used for the three main characters. A different instrument was used for each: flute for Blondie, ocarina for Angel Eyes and human voices for Tuco. The score complements the film's American Civil War setting, containing the mournful ballad, "The Story of a Soldier", which is sung by prisoners as Tuco is being tortured by Angel Eyes. The film's climax, a three-way Mexican standoff, begins with the melody of "The Ecstasy of Gold" and is followed by "The Trio."
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