con·​tra·​bass | \ ˈkän-trə-ˌbās How to pronounce contrabass (audio) \

Definition of contrabass

 (Entry 1 of 2)



Definition of contrabass (Entry 2 of 2)

: pitched lower than a bass instrument of the same type a contrabass clarinet

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Other Words from contrabass


contrabassist \ ˈkän-​trə-​ˌbā-​sist How to pronounce contrabass (audio) \ noun

Examples of contrabass in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Selections from Two-Part Inventions (arranged for violin and contrabass), Prokofiev’s Sonata for Two Violins in C Major, Op. George Varga, San Diego Union-Tribune, "SummerFest forging ahead, with livestreamed concerts and unabated musical passion, despite pandemic," 16 Aug. 2020 They were greatly assisted by Heather Vorwerck on baroque cello (held between her legs was the practice) and by Shanon Zusman on the violone, the five-stringed predecessor to the contrabass. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Review: Bach Collegium San Diego opens season with a lovely Bach cantata," 12 Oct. 2019 The other revelation on this concert was Prokofiev’s 1924 Quintet in G minor, scored for the odd ensemble of oboe, clarinet, violin, viola and contrabass. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Review: Symphony’s wind players shine in East County ECHO chamber recital," 29 Sep. 2019 San Diego State University’s Community Music School offers a variety of workshops for strings, contrabass and piano. Beth Wood,, "Summer arts preview: Top 5 classical picks," 13 May 2018 The instrumentation requires extra winds (including a contrabass clarinet) and brass (six horns, four trombones). Christian Hertzog,, "La Jolla Symphony and Sameer Patel delight with 20th century masterpieces," 7 May 2018 The deep-sea contrabass clarinet and contrabassoon that Salonen love contribute a strange bottom to the orchestral sound. Mark Swed,, "Salonen's 'Pollux' supplies some grunge for L.A. Phil tour," 16 Apr. 2018 Mark Dresser Quintet Expect a night of dazzling aural adventure when San Diego contrabass great Mark Dresser is joined by a stellar band featuring the superb flutist Nicole Mitchell, rising piano phenom Joshua White and trombonist Michael Dessen. George Varga,, "Spring arts 2018: 10 things to watch in music this season," 25 Mar. 2018 There was a sense of coronation as one witnessed her confident next-generation contrabass playing side by side with McBride’s electric bass guitar. Yoshi Kato, San Francisco Chronicle, "Bassist Aneesa Strings off to a fast start," 26 Mar. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'contrabass.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of contrabass


1761, in the meaning defined above


1834, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for contrabass


Italian contrabbasso, from contra- + basso bass

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Time Traveler for contrabass

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The first known use of contrabass was in 1761

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Cite this Entry

“Contrabass.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Feb. 2021.

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