Type: Chordophones > Lyres > Viols.
Hornbostel Sachs No#: 321.312.7
Tunings: G / D / A
Country: Hungary & Romania.
Region: Eastern Europe.
Description: A kontra is a Hungarian [in Hungarian: háromhúros brácsa, ‘three-stringed viola’], Czech, Polish, Romanian, Slovak and Romani instrument 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.