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SoundScapeIssue 0236Music is a special kind of sound. It can reduce pain, improve sleeping patterns, lower anxiety levels and elevate mood. While many medical journal articles have suggested that music's therapeutic powers are due to its ability to act as a distraction, scientific experiments comparing music to genuine auditory distractions like white noise have shown that music can achieve more than a distraction. The qualities of music as a stimulant were tested in a study entitled: 'Effect of distractive auditory stimuli on exercise tolerance in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)', where lung patients with breathing difficulties were asked to pedal an exercise bicycle for as long as possible. The study found that playing music resulted in a higher exercise tolerance compared to silence, as well as less subjective unpleasantness. However, when patients were asked to do the same exercise with a non-musical auditory distraction such as grey noise, the distracting noise did decrease the subjective unpleasantness, but did not increase the amount of exercise done. The implication is that music has qualitatively different effects from pure State of mindmusic is not just sound. Dr Harry Witchel explains how music can be perceived in different ways, and that by understanding its power it can be channelled as a positive force for change

SoundScapeIssue 0237distraction. That is to say, although distractions may decrease your discomfort, listening to music will make you stronger.The increase in exercise tolerance is also commonly ascribed to music's ability to change our mood or alleviate pain. When running a marathon, you can't take a break for hours on end, and your legs are in almost unendurable pain. Music may seem like a good way to deal with this, but Jennifer Goebel was disqualified from winning the 2009 Lakefront Marathon in Milwaukee because she was wearing an iPod. It was not an act of random boredom, because she only wore the iPod while running from mile 19 to mile 21. She said: "I wasn't going to put the music on unless I thought I needed it." Goebel observed: "If you're bored, it pumps you up a little bit. Sometimes, on a long training run, I'll bring it along for the last half hour. When I run marathons sometimes I carry it and never put it on." While surveys indicate that many people deliberately use music to change their moods, commercial establishments can play music to create a leisurely pace conducive to shopping and examining merchandise. Studies have shown that the speed at which people move around a shopping mall can be modulated by the tempo of the music played - music with a slower tempo is associated with slower in-store traffic flow and a greater total sales volume than music with a faster tempo. In 1986, the same scientists found that diners in a Texan restaurant could be made to eat more slowly or quickly by adjusting the tempo of the background music played - music with a fast tempo was associated with a faster turnover of tables, whereas slower music engendered slower eating and more spending at the bar. The simplest explanation for how music can change how much exercise you can do or how fast you eat is that the regular rhythms found in music allow people to entrain to its tempo. Music defines social territoryThe effects of music are not unceasingly positive. One person's music can be another person's noise. Music is used by humans to reinforce social territory. When music has such a territorial effect, it can engender a sense of belonging and empowerment. This social territory created by music is much more than a place - it is a state of mind. Those who choose and want the music feel confident, calm, resolute and strong. By contrast, people subjected to unwanted music will feel bored, irritated, anxious or weak. Music is used by humans to reinforce social territory