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gamut


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(1) Properly, the note G at the pitch now indicated by the lowest line of the bass staff. Greek G or ‘gamma’ was used for its designation, and as the note just mentioned was the ‘ut’ (‘doh’) of the lowest hexachord, this portmanteau word was adopted as a name for it. (2) By extension, the word came to be used as a comprehensive name for the whole series of hexachords as displayed in writing. (3) By a further extension it came to mean ‘scale’ in general (Fr. gamme). (4) Also came to mean the whole range of mus. sounds from the lowest to the highest; and to be applied in a metaphorical way to a singer's or actor's range, e.g. ‘He covered the whole gamut of tragic expression’.

(1) Properly, the note G at the pitch now indicated by the lowest line of the bass staff. Greek G or ‘gamma’ was used for its designation, and as the note just mentioned was the ‘ut’ (‘doh’) of the lowest hexachord, this portmanteau word was adopted as a name for it. (2) By extension, the word came to be used as a comprehensive name for the whole series of hexachords as displayed in writing. (3) By a further extension it came to mean ‘scale’ in general (Fr. gamme). (4) Also came to mean the whole range of mus. sounds from the lowest to the highest; and to be applied in a metaphorical way to a singer's or actor's range, e.g. ‘He covered the whole gamut of tragic expression’.

Subjects: Music.


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