As promised I have attached an image to help introduce the idea of waveform scopes. As mentioned, you can use a waveform scope like a histogram - with the added benefit of being able to see how the tonal values relate to the image (because the scope reads left-to-right).
The attached file is a page from The Art and Technique of Digital Color Correction by Steve Hullfish (ISBN: 9780240809908). I have added a gradient to the second image to show how the tonal values are plotted; the third image overlays the scope on top of the image it represents, to show how the values are plotted left-to-right.
The scope in the attached file is showing only luminance information, but there are over scopes called RGB Parades which provide a multi-channel version. A good explanatory webpage is here: http://aaronwilliams.tv/2010/12/colorist-tip-5/
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