Kevin Kiner scored the soundtrack for The Clone Wars and the vast majority of the music was recorded with a live orchestra performed by live musicians. Kiner also composes the score for Star Wars: Rebels but everything I've heard so far has been synthesized music, not performed by live musicians. (I've only seen season 1 so far).

The Star Wars franchise has usually shown a good appreciation for how music can elevate a project. Legendary composer John Williams has scored all the films thus far. They've even gotten live musicians to record brand new music not only for The Clone Wars TV show but also for video games like Star Wars: The Force Unleashed, The Old Republic, Kinect, and Battlefront.

Nearly everything else about Star Wars: Rebels has shown that its creators are willing to make the extra effort to improve the show like bringing back actors from the actual films to reprise their roles (James Earl Jones, Frank Oz, Billy Dee Williams, etc.) so why not cough up the money and hire some live musicians to record the music?

If they still care about having quality soundtracks (like I think they do) and the have the money to bring back actors from the films, then why does Star Wars: Rebels have a synthesized soundtrack?

  • 3
    Maybe they spent all their money on getting actors back.
    – phantom42
    Commented Dec 2, 2015 at 2:43
  • 4
    Kiner's work for Rebels has been outstanding - synthesizers or not
    – NKCampbell
    Commented Dec 2, 2015 at 2:56
  • 3
    The implication that a synthesized soundtrack lacks "extra effort" or care given to "quality" seems to be highly opinion-based.
    – recognizer
    Commented Dec 2, 2015 at 19:44
  • I'm not arguing that synthesized music is 100% proof that they don't care; I am asking why does it have a synthesized soundtrack? The question is not opinion based.
    – RedCaio
    Commented Dec 2, 2015 at 21:05

2 Answers 2


According to these interviews - he seems to be using live musicians


"Kiner, whose nearly 30-year composing career includes such credits as the AMC drama “Hell on Wheels,” the original “Leprechaun” film and the “Star” trifecta of “Star Wars: The Clone Wars,” “Star Trek: Enterprise” and “Stargate SG-1,” will use a smaller ensemble for the “Rebels” score than Williams had for the films, but at 30 musicians, it’s still larger than many all-electronic scores on TV today. “I’m using a similar size orchestra to what John used on ‘Lost in Space’,” he says."


"John Williams set a template for Star Wars; it's extremely orchestral and classical and the computer doesn't do that very well, so you need live guys to pull that off."

I just looked at the credits for a random episode and saw no attribution for an orchestra but that may not mean there wasn't one. Unless there is evidence that it is solely synthetic, I would lean towards the interview as being accurate since it comes from the man himself.

  • hmmm, if there are any live musicians in there, then they're certainly overpowered by the synthesized sample-orchestra almost all the time, lol.
    – RedCaio
    Commented Dec 2, 2015 at 3:22
  • 2
    that's not an unreasonable assumption - if he really is using only 30 musicians, they may certainly be giving it a boost to give it that Star Wars Williams weight.
    – NKCampbell
    Commented Dec 2, 2015 at 3:23

The Clone Wars pilot movie had a live score, but the majority of the music of the first seasons consisted of sample library music. Gradually the show used more live-recorded orchestra music, it was only towards the end everything was scored with a real orchestra.

I don't know the viewing numbers, but my guess is that, the more viewers it attracted, the more budget the producers decided to allocate to the music and gave it the breathing space and quality it deserved.

I'm pretty sure, if rebels' ratings prove succesfully, it will follow the same path. I hope so. Kiner's score really shined towards the end, where the first series didn't quite convince me.

If there are budget restraints to make, music is always the first victim :).

  • 1
    This a good answer, but it could be made even better by providing references.
    – Adamant
    Commented May 20, 2016 at 5:05

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