gamut

/gam"euht/, n.
1. the entire scale or range: the gamut of dramatic emotion from grief to joy.
2. Music.
a. the whole series of recognized musical notes.
b. the major scale.
[1425-75; late ME < ML; contr. of gamma ut, equiv. to gamma, used to represent the first or lowest tone (G) in the medieval scale + ut (later do); the notes of the scale (ut, re, mi, fa, sol, la, si) being named from a Latin hymn to St. John the Baptist: Ut queant laxis resonare fibris. Mira gestorum famuli tuorum, Solve polluti labii reatum, Sancte Iohannes]
Syn. 1. sweep, breadth, scope, reach, extent, field.

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music
      in music, the full range of pitches in a musical system; also, the compass of a particular instrument or voice. The word originated with the medieval monk Guido of Arezzo (Guido d'Arezzo) (d. 1050) to identify his system of solmization, i.e., of using syllables to denote musical tones in a scale. Thus, to render in syllables the six tones of the hexatonic scale that prevailed, Guido started with the lowest tone recognized in medieval music theory, the second G below middle C, or gamma. For this note he selected the syllable ut from the hymn “Ut queant laxis” and for the ascending tones used the syllables re, mi, fa, sol, and la. Since Guido and his successors conceived musical theory in terms of overlapping hexachords (hexachord) rather than the diatonic scale, the syllable ut could represent any of the three pitches capable of sustaining the overlapping hexachords that made up the system; these were C, F, and G. While ut might vary, there was only one gamma-ut.

      Gradually, the word's meaning was extended to include the whole range from gamma-ut to the high E and contracted to gamut. After diatonic scales displaced the system of overlapping hexachords, gamut came to designate any maximal scale within reach of a given instrument or voice, hence the literary phrase “ranging over the whole gamut of human emotions.” See also hexachord; solmization.

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Universalium. 2010.

Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

  • gamut — In music, gamut properly means ‘the note G at the pitch now indicated by the lowest line of the bass staff’. (The word is formed from medieval Latin gamma (= the note G) + ut, the first of six arbitrary names forming the hexachord (ut, re, mi, fa …   Modern English usage

  • gamut — ► NOUN 1) the complete range or scope of something. 2) Music a complete scale of musical notes; the compass or range of a voice or instrument. 3) historical a scale consisting of seven overlapping hexachords, containing all the recognized notes… …   English terms dictionary

  • gamut — 1520s, originally, lowest note in the medieval musical scale, in the system of notation devised by Guido d Arezzo, contraction of M.L. gamma ut, from gamma, the Greek letter, indicating a note below A, + ut (later do), the low note on the six… …   Etymology dictionary

  • gamut — gàmut m DEFINICIJA sav raspon čega (boja, tonova i sl.) [gamut dramatičnih osjećaja od tuge do veselja] ETIMOLOGIJA srlat. gamma ut ≃ gamma: prvi ili najniži ton na srednjovjekovnoj glazbenoj ljestvici + ut: do …   Hrvatski jezični portal

  • gamut — [gam′ət] n. [ML gamma ut < gamma, the gamut, name used by GUIDO D AREZZO for the lowest note of his scale (< Gr gamma, GAMMA) + ut < L ut, that, used as a musical note, taken from a medieval song whose phrases began on successive… …   English World dictionary

  • Gamut — Gam ut, n. [F. gamme + ut the name of a musical note. F. gamme is fr. the name of the Greek letter ?, which was used by Guido d Arezzo to represent the first note of his model scale. See {Gamma}, and {Ut}.] (Mus.) The scale. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • gamut — I noun breadth, circuit, compass, complete sequence, complete series, extent, length, limit, progression, range, reach, scope, span, stretch, sweep, vastness, whole range, width II index range Burton s Legal Thesaurus. William C. Burton. 2006 …   Law dictionary

  • Gamut —   [dt. »Tonleiter«, »(Farb )Skala«], im Bereich der Computergrafik derjenige Teil aller Farbtöne, den ein Ausgabegerät (Bildschirm, Drucker) darstellen kann …   Universal-Lexikon

  • gamut — *range, reach, radius, compass, sweep, scope, orbit, horizon, ken, purview …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • gamut — [n] range area, catalogue, compass, diapason, extent, field, panorama, scale, scope, series, spectrum, sweep; concepts 651,788 …   New thesaurus

  • Gamut — This article is about color gamut. For other uses, see Gamut (disambiguation). A typical CRT gamut. The grayed out horseshoe shape is the entire range of possible chromaticities, displayed in the CIE 1931 chromaticity diagram format (see below).… …   Wikipedia

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