The kontra is a converted viola with 3 strings instead of 4. In addition, the bridge is flat. 3 strings are bowed at the same time, making the kontra mainly a rhythm and harmony instrument.
The lower two strings are tuned like the two lower strings of a violin (g-d’. The third string is an octave lower than on a violin (a instead of a’). The result is that the 3 strings are very close to each other in terms of pitch, creating a chord in a close position and the typical buzzing sound.
Kontra and double bass together form the basis of much traditional music in South-West Tsiganea. In the music from Felcsik, an ordinary violin fulfills the function of the kontra. In addition to the rhythm of the gardon, the violin plays the harmony.