Showing posts from February, 2018

MA - The Sound of Emptiness

I have written before about the importance of space in music, especially when playing the Gongs. I'm very fond of the Japanese idea of MA, or negative space. In music, this is the space between notes/melodies/phrases, which by outlining them with emptiness, gives them shape. For me, I find this in letting the sounds of my gongs/bowls/bells ring and decay into nothingness, then letting that nothingness extend outward until I play the next sound. 

One problem I find in listening to many Gong players is that they fail to invite the space in. They fill up every available minute with sound, which to me, often fails to keep both my interest and attention. The space, or MA,creates contrast, and allows the mind to reset. It also asks the question, How do you know sound if you don't know un-sound? It's the same idea visually, in that, how do you know black is black without knowing white?

The Japanese kanji for MA
I came across this blog article which offers one of the best explanation…

The Great Puccini Gong Sale

What is something worth?

There are various factors that figure into an answer to this question. For the seller, often times emotion plays a big part in selling something. If it's been in the family for a long time, there is a very strong emotional value. “This item belonged to my mother/father/spouse/child/etc.” There is a bond with that item. While this is very real to the seller, it is a perceived value, based on their own emotional connection to the item. Now unless the buyer is family or a friend, they may not have, or see, any emotional value to the item.

There's also historical value. The item being sold may have once been owned or used by some historical figure. Or it comes from some historical time or place. Historical value is tricky. If I were to say, “This item was once owned byX,” but you either don't know who X was, or don't care, you won't share in the same sense of historical value.

Then there's actual value, which is based on the recent selling pri…