In The Wizard of Oz, while Dorothy is still in Kansas before the tornado, the mean old lady Mrs. Gulch, from a couple farms over who rode the bicycle and kept threatening Toto had sort of a menacing little tune/melody that plays while she is riding along.

Is that tune an original composition for her, for the movie, or is it based on some prior piece of work and was re-used/adapted for use in Oz?

There's nothing that particularly makes me think it is not original, I just was humming it tonight, and started wondering.


It's an original riff called "Miss Gulch's / Witch's theme" by Herbert Stothart, who won an Oscar for the film's score. Also, according to Wiki:

This repeated seven-note motif is actually a "crippled" variation (inverted and compressed in range) of the musical figure for "We're off to see the Wizard".

Here's an interesting article (archive.org copy) about the music in the film (this riff included).

  • Like that article; never really thought about all that! I'm intrigued too by the scenes they cut to make the witch's role "less scary" to children! ;)
    – eidylon
    Jul 5 '14 at 7:06

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