con·​tra·​bas·​soon ˌkän-trə-bə-ˈsün How to pronounce contrabassoon (audio)
: a double-reed woodwind instrument having a range an octave lower than that of the bassoon

called also double bassoon

Examples of contrabassoon in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Once again the musicians relished their solos (special shout out to Leyla Zamora’s murky contrabassoon) and created musical magic in their ensemble playing. Christian Hertzog, San Diego Union-Tribune, 25 Mar. 2024 The chill of her announcement is accentuated by Muhly’s orchestration, in which bass clarinet, contrabassoon, harp, and cello perform a deathly turn from E major to G minor. Alex Ross, The New Yorker, 14 Aug. 2023 The second movement features boisterous, fast moving lines for contrabassoon. Seth Colter Walls, New York Times, 5 Jan. 2023 The performances also feature long stretches with two bass players and, aside from Coltrane’s saxophones, there are musicians bringing in the unusual-for-jazz timbres of the oboe, bass clarinet and contrabassoon. Washington Post, 3 Nov. 2021 LoPiccolo said, which includes instruments like a contrabassoon and a variety of percussion. Emily Sorensen, Pomerado News, 22 Aug. 2019 The filigreed serenades of the wind section were in the foreground throughout—the growl of the contrabassoon was delightfully prominent—and the tympani rolled with a primal thunder. Richard Brody, The New Yorker, 31 July 2019 Below the noise and brutally driving rhythms the music seethes with weird effects — queasy lyricism in the strings, sinister grunts from the contrabassoon, trombones and tuba. John Von Rhein,, 15 June 2018 Details stood in high relief against the roiling sound mass, such as the sinister contrabassoon trailed by muted horns, also the strange little duet between flute and horn later on. John Von Rhein,, 18 May 2018

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

Word History

First Known Use

1877, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of contrabassoon was in 1877

Dictionary Entries Near contrabassoon

Cite this Entry

“Contrabassoon.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 May. 2024.

Kids Definition


con·​tra·​bas·​soon ˌkän-trə-bə-ˈsün How to pronounce contrabassoon (audio)
: a musical instrument that is similar to a bassoon but has a longer body with more turns and is pitched an octave lower

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