Ma means an interval in time and space, but it is much more than just a blank space. It is best described as a concept related to commenting on, or engaging in, the Japanese arts such as: Kabuki, Noh, dance, storytelling, music, calligraphy and painting.
When ma is used in conjunction with the arts it relates to rhythm and berating (it was originally a concept related to music).
It can best be described in theater as a dramatic pause in spoken lines, in music it is interpreted according to each musician's
taste and how one wishes to space the notes. In painting, the empty space (ma) is used to enhance the whole of the painting.
There is another principle which is very important in Japanese arts: the ma, which is generally translated as space ;
but it is not a physical space but it is more a sensory space, which involves physical space as well as the space of time.
In music, it is felt through the silences between musical phrases or single notes, or through the jo-ha-kyû while playing
a single note or a phrase.
In a flower arrangement, it is felt through the arrangement of the different flowers, branches or leafs.
Or, in a Japanese tea room, one might see a beautiful kimono hung on a corner. The mais felt not through
its physical place in the room, but through what a kimono evokes in one's mind when notices it: the beauty
of wearing such a beautiful kimono. The ma is sensory in relation to what is evoked in a person's mind when