Italian: contrabbasso) refers to a
musical instrument of very low pitch—generally one
octave below bass register instruments. While the term most commonly refers to the
double bass (which is the bass instrument in the orchestral string family, tuned lower than the
cello), many other instruments in the contrabass register exist.
The term "contrabass" is relative, usually denoting a very low-pitched instrument of its type, rather than one in a particular range. For example, the
contrabass flute's lowest note is approximately an octave higher than that of the
contrabass clarinet. Instruments tuned below contrabass instruments, such as the
double contrabass flute or
subcontrabass saxophone, may be referred to as "double contrabass," "triple contrabass," "subcontrabass," or "octocontrabass" instruments. On the other hand, the "contrabass" classification often includes such instruments.