Dark, sonorous, full, resonant, heavy, grave, mighty, substantial, somber, rumbling, buzzing, rough, acerbic, husky.
The contrabassoon is used to suggest solemn, weighty and somber moods as well as emotive and stately ones. Staccato notes are suitable for quaint effects or, like the bassoon, can also be used to add humorous touches.
Lower register: B0 – E1
The low notes are substantial, sustaining and dark. They have a somewhat more precise sound than other contrabass instruments (e.g., the contrabass tuba). Effects reminiscent of the organ are possible. The sound is mellow at piano levels.
Middle register: F1 – E2
The dark, sonorous and mighty timbre is ideal for bass tasks.
Upper register: F2 – C4
At the top end the notes become progressively less loud and sustaining, the timbre becomes harder, brighter and rather acerbic.