A kontra shown from the front and the side
|Other names||Hungarian: Háromhúros brácsa, Estonian: Kolmekeelne vioola|
(Composite chordophone sounded by a bow)
|g - d - a|
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.
The kontra is tuned like a viola, though lacking its low c string: g - d' - a' and frequently the a' string is replaced with a second g string tuned to a, a major second above the g, in a form of re-entrant tuning.
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.
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.