Kontra

Name: Kontra.
Type: Bowed, Violin > Chordophones.
Hornbostel Sachs No#: 321.312.7
Tunings: G-D-A
Country: Hungary & Romania.
Region: Eastern Europe.

Description: The kontra is a Hungarian [Hungarian: háromhúros brácsa, literally “three-stringed viola”]. It is found through out Czech Republic, Poland, Romania, Slovak and Romani music and it is common in Transylvania. The kontra has a defined role within dance band music. Its range lies between that of the fiddle or Vioara cu goarnă on the high-end and the double bass on the low-end.

Playing Technique: Due to the flattened bridge, a kontra is not as capable of playing melody lines as a viola. Rather, the standard method of play is to play double stops and three-note chords and let the fiddle play melody lines.

Construction: The kontra is constructed much like the classical viola, with two major differences. First, there are only three strings instead of four. Second, the bridge is flattened, allowing a musician to play all three strings at once.