Star Wars meets Baroque classics
The long-spanning Star Wars saga is embedded into our consciousness not only with its visual motifs but also its iconic score. John Williams' intricate and rich work on the space opera is often reduced to the themes such as The Imperial March, Luke's Theme (the famous opening sequence), and The Force Theme, all overshadowing more subtle character themes and pieces.
One of these jems is Jabba’s Baroque Recital that appears in Return of the Jedi, the third installment of the original trilogy, during Jabba the Hutt's introductory scene, as the ironic musical representation of the grotesque alien gangster.
The composition suggests a parallel between Jabba's royal-like palace and the real European monarchs who commissioned music for their courts during Baroque and Classical eras.
In Jabba the Hutt's Tatooine palace sequence, the court music is performed by a long-lipped alien singer Sy Snootles and the Max Rebo Band featuring the now iconic blue creature with the circular keyboard, accompanied by an eyeless horn player Droopy McCool.
In the real world, however, the piece was written for harpsichord and flute but was apparently recorded with synthesizers to give the scene a more space-like atmosphere.
Curiously, the soundtrack lists the piece as Baroque, the tune's structure is actually closer to that of the Classical era, which is evident through the use of methods such as alberti bass motion that was often used by Mozart and Haydn. Even though the structure might be Classical, in the general understanding of the musical theory, the overall sound does create the natural Baroque feeling, intentionally reminiscent of Bach's and Telemann's works.
Another modernized detail is the track's three-minute length, since the music forms it refers to tended to be three times longer during the actual Baroque period.