Though not coming from a musical background, as a child Cipriani was fascinated by his church's organ. His priest gave him his first music lessons and encouraged Cipriani and his family. Cipriani passed his examinations and studied at Santa Cecilia Conservatory from the age of 14, then played on cruise ship bands, that enabled him to meet Dave Brubeck. Upon return to Italy he accompanied Rita Pavone on piano.
His first soundtrack was the spaghetti western The Bounty Killer (1966), followed by a well known score for The Stranger Returns (also known as A Man, a Horse, a Gun and Shoot First, Laugh Last) (1967) starring Tony Anthony. Cipriani later composed other spaghetti western scores with Anthony, together with many popular poliziottesco soundtracks.
One of Cipriani's most famous scores is from the 1973 film La polizia sta a guardare (The Great Kidnapping). The main theme was recycled by Cipriani in 1977 for the score to Tentacoli, and was brought to the public's attention again in 2007 when it was featured in Quentin Tarantino's Death Proof.
Cipriani's scores for the films of the "La Polizia..." series were different arrangements over the same theme. Some of those themes were used in the soundtrack of the couple Hélène Cattet & Bruno Forzani's first feature Amer.
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