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In myths, religion, and literature, sound is often granted significant powers: of creation and destruction, of seduction, and of providing balance and harmony. Similar forces are attributed to sound in medical, psychological, advertising, and other domains: the power of sound to structure intelligence, act as therapy, anaesthetize, or subliminally shape us. While sound remains a reservoir of symbolic powers, many of the supposed real effects of sounds have been overstated. Moreover, the partisans of these effects have failed to take into account the large number of variables (cultural, technical, personal, etc.) that condition listening experiences.

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