Jenn Karson

Scoring the Streets of New Orleans

Fragments of song float from street corners and weave throughout the open-air bars and restaurants that line Bourbon Street. For the passerby, pieces of numerous songs are threaded into one melody. Time signature is determined by the walker’s gate, notes by the chance encounters with the sound events of the place, points on a map.

On December 31, 2004 I walked through the French Quarter and down Bourbon Street recording the experience described above. Music, the sounds of busy streets and celebrations all became part of the recording. Using midi conversion, I translated the original field recording into digital data. The data now works as a master score, open to diverse interpretations. In 2010 I’ve worked with this score to create the sound piece Scoring the Streets of New Orleans and the image New Orleans City Soundscape.


Jenn Karson is a sound artist who works with a strong sense of place. Her work in sound explores the textures of recording, scoring, mapping, projection, installation, observation and programming – it is suspicious of the sublime while it navigates the shifting negotiations of natures and cultures. She received an MFA in Design and Technology at the San Francisco Art Institute in 2009.

Her sound studio, Studio Ju Ju, is located in Northern Vermont: