44th National Táncház Festival & Fair • 4–6 April 2025
Starting page: 47
The primkontra is a stringed instrument used, in Transylvania, by the band from Szászcsávás [Ceuaş]. It is an accompaniment instrument used sometimes along with the Transylvanian 3 stringed viola (kontra in Hungarian) or sometimes by itself to accompany the violin. A primkontra can be made by removing the so-called ’e2’ string from the violin, and then flattening the arch in the bridge. On the basis of conversations with members of the Szászcsávás Band it seems that this instrument saw its heyday in the 1950–1960’s. One musician, Lunka Mózes (b.1932), said in 1999, „…when I was twenty, we got the viola,....after that we didn’t really use the primkontra, because the viola was easier...on the primkontra one nearly has to play the tune like the lead violin and one uses more fingerings (chords?) than on the viola, with nicer ornamentation…I haven’t played it in about 10 years....” Plenty of information on the playing style is also given here. See illustrations in article in Hungarian. By Szánthó Zoltán