For the album by the Basque metal band Eraso!, see Kontra (album).

A kontra shown from the front and the side
String instrument
Other names Hungarian: Háromhúros brácsa, Estonian: Kolmekeelne vioola
Hornbostel–Sachs classification
(Composite chordophone sounded by a bow)
Playing range

g - d - a
Related instruments

A kontra is a Hungarian (Hungarian: háromhúros brácsa, ‘three-stringed viola’), Romanian, Slovak and Romani instrument common in Transylvania.


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.[1]


The kontra is tuned like a viola, though lacking its low C string: G-D-A.


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.

Ensemble playing

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. Many Romanian and Hungarian bands also feature the cimbalom or citera, clarinet, accordion, and Ütőgardon or cello.

See also


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