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


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

Examples of contrabass in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web
The award-winning symphonic band of more than 75 area musicians welcomes renowned saxophone soloist Rob Verdi, whose performance will feature his unique collection of instruments, including a sopranino sax, contrabass sax and an original 1880 sax from Adolphe Sax, the instrument’s creator. Linda McIntosh, San Diego Union-Tribune, 23 Feb. 2024 Digital flutes, contrabass flutes, bamboo flutes, Mayan flutes. Amanda Petrusich, The New Yorker, 4 Dec. 2023 In 2021, López, who’s about six years younger than the others (who are all either 26 or 27), joined the troupe on the tololoche (a kind of Mexican contrabass). Isabela Raygoza, Billboard, 27 June 2023 Part of this involved the work of a contrabass player, recording very low bass treatments. Carolyn Giardina, The Hollywood Reporter, 4 Mar. 2023 The orchestration was dense but not overcrowded, and the sonic palette gave it an otherworldly quality that was sometimes dreamlike, sometimes nightmarish — here the hollow sound of a cimbalom and a hushed ripple of winds, there the infernal bleat of a contrabass trombone. Globe Staff,, 9 Aug. 2022 It was scored for contrabass, and contrasted vigorous open string strums with ethereal harmonics played all the way below the fingerboard. Christian Hertzog, San Diego Union-Tribune, 28 Feb. 2023 At the California Center for the Arts, Escondido, a standing ovation for Tijuana composer Andrés Martín and conductor Ankush Kumar Bahl Consider the contrabass, a loyal servant in the orchestra. San Diego Union-Tribune, 21 Apr. 2022

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'contrabass.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History



Italian contrabbasso, from contra- + basso bass

First Known Use


1761, in the meaning defined above


1834, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of contrabass was in 1761

Dictionary Entries Near contrabass

Cite this Entry

“Contrabass.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Apr. 2024.

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