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Running the gamut - a little more

Posted by James Briggs on November 02, 2003

In Reply to: Running the gamut posted by Bob on November 02, 2003

: : : what does running the gamut mean?

: : It means the entirety--a sense of completeness.
: : Someone will use that phrase to describe a state of wholeness as in "The people who frequent the Phrasefinder forum run a geographic gamut with people from almost all continents participating".
: : Gamut was used by the ancient inhabitants of Rome in a musical sense to desribe a series of notes. I think the original word was "gamus" or "gamuae". I am not 100% on that.

: Printing uses the term, too. The gamut is a map that shows all the colors possible with the inks being used, and, in electronic form, all the colors possible for a monitor to show. Something, for example, could be printed in Day-Glo flourescent colors, but you couldn't represent that on your computer monitor, as those colors are outside the gamut.

This is what I've found out.
Gamut is the first word of a medieval Italian mnemonic used to help remember the musical scale. Gamma was the first note followed by ut, re, mi, fa, so, la and si. Gamma and ut became combined to describe the whole range.