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 El Precio de un Hombre/The Bounty Killer (1966) followed by a well known score for Un Uomo, uno caballo, una pistola/The Stranger Returns/Shoot First Laugh Last (1967) starring Tony Anthony; Cipriani later composed other spaghetti western scores with Anthony.
One of Cipriani's most famous scores is from "La Polizia Sta a Guardare". The main theme was recycled by Cipriani for the score for 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.
|1969||The Thirteen Chairs||Nicolas Gessner|
|1970||Rough Justice||Mario Costa|
|The Anonymous Venetian||Enrico Maria Salerno|
|The Lickerish Quartet||Radley Metzger|
|1971||Twitch of the Death Nerve||Mario Bava|
|1972||Night Hair Child||James Kelley & Andrea Bianchi|
|1973||Le mataf||Serge Leroy|
|The Bloody Hands of the Law||Mario Gariazzo|
|1974||The Balloon Vendor||Mario Gariazzo|
|1976||Colt 38 Special Squad||Massimo Dallamano|
|1977||Tentacles||Oliver Hellman||as "S.W. Cipriani"|
|1979||Concorde Affaire '79||Ruggero Deodato|
|1981||Piranha II: The Spawning||James Cameron & Ovidio G. Assonitis||as "Steve Powder"|
|2001||Death, Deceit and Destiny Aboard the Orient Express||Mark Roper|