Ron Jarvis Sound Design, Composition, Audio Production, Education         







Custom Recordings for Theme Parks and Musical Theatre



Custom Music for Special Events



Macaw: American Worldbeat Music Band


Andy's Hat

MFA Thesis Project: Musical Composition and SFX Show Control



Booking and Entertainment Consulting



Student Success



Sound Design and Musical Composition for Dance


Traditional Theatrical Sound Designs


Sound Reenforcement for Musical Theatre










Traditional Theatrical Sound Design


    When discussing sound design for straight plays, I must always refer to an article by Richard K. Thomas entitled "The Function of the Soundscape" (TD&T, winter 2001, pg18).


     "The first pair of synonyms  are the words "composition" and "design." In the context of this paper, either term refers to the organization of sonic or visual elements for the express purpose of communicating with an audience. The second pair of synonyms are the words "music" and "sound.' these refer to audible events organized for the purpose of communicating. By defining these terms in this manner, the paper does not differentiate between music composition and sound design. They are the same and can be used interchangeably.

     The last pair of synonyms are "speech' and "song." In this paper, these terms refer to vocal communication combining words and music."



    It is with these words in mind that the sound designer must "orchestrate" his assembly of effects in a musical and interpretive fashion. Just as words carry much of the intellectual discourse of the play, it is the realm of the music and sounds to deal with the heart and feel. Not just a doorbell ringing, but a bell that musically contributes to the inner life of the play; what the characters feel about their situation and themselves more as much as what they are saying.

    I believe that a good underscore can be the actors best friend. When they join forces, they can be a combination far more powerful than the sum of their parts.




Dancing at Lughnasa


    Dancing at Lughnasa” is a play by Irish playwright Brian Freil. It is a memory play from the viewpoint of the adult Michael. He recalls, from age 7, growing up with his unmarried mother, four maiden aunts and his mentally confused priest uncle in 1936 rural Ireland. The play takes place on the occasion of two visits from his father.

  Of all the theatrical sound designs I have done, this is my all time favorite design for one of my all time favorite productions. Directed by Monica Bell for Kent State University, Dancing at Lughnasa, while not a musical, is a play with much musicality. There is much called for music that is played mostly through a radio named "Marconi" that starts and stops seemingly with a will of it's own. Plus, the poetry of the dialogue combines with the sound of the Irish brogue to truly define the Richard Thomas synonyms of "speech" and "song."      



The Rehearsal CD


    It is my belief that the sound designer's role in theatre should be a part of the interactive collaborative process from the first production meeting, through blocking rehearsals, character development, and design coordination until opening night. This is how a truly unified production is developed.

     The playwright shows two time periods in conflict and comparison and calls for music from each. After researching this music, I organized a CD of traditional Irish music. It consisted of political songs, love songs, military songs, and even some songs in the original Gaelic. I distributed a copy to everyone in the cast as well as to all the designers with a recommendation to play it as environmental music; around the house, in the car. I believe it helped everyone in their understanding the people and time of the world of the play It also served the more practical need of hearing the Irish accent in a natural, approachable, and musical way.



The Sound Design


 This is by no means the design in its entirety. I found a wealth of music and sound from the rich Irish tradition that made the research on this one a delight.



Please click on the links below for more details and concepts of my design for

Dancing at Lughnasa.


Lughnasa Home

The Monologues

The Imaginary Boy Sound

Outside Ambience



This was also the debut of Professor Steve M. Zapytowski and my collaborative design for an 8 channel surround system in Wright-Curtis Theatre. For you techies who like such things, click on the links below.



System Drawing 1
System Drawing 2
System Drawing 3