Contra Gamba Italian
Contre Gambe French
Grossgamba German

A Gamba stop pitched an octave lower than normal, at 16' (manuals) or 32' (pedal). According to Hopkins & Rimbault, it was frequently used by Henry Willis. Irwin describes its tone as “rich, brilliant, but not especially loud”; Audsley calls it “string-like ... but not so pronounced as to be imitative”. According to Audsley, it is constructed from cylindrical open metal pipes of medium scale.

The name Contre Gambe does not appear in the literature, but we assume it to be a synonym. Irwin alone lists Grossgamba as a synonym, but other information shows it to be a different stop; see Grossgamba.

Compare with Contra Viola da Gamba and Gambenbass.


Osiris contains about six dozen examples. All are at 16' pitch except for three at 32' pitch, of which 2 are electronic.

Contra Gamba 32' (metal), String Pedal Organ; John Wanamaker Store, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA.

Sound Clips

See the Sound Files appendix for general information.

Contra Gamba 16', Solo Kellogg Auditorium, Battle Creek, Michigan, USA Aeolian-Skinner, 1933 St. Anne (8va)


Audsley[1]: Contra-Gamba. Audsley[2]: I.XIII Contra-Gamba. Hopkins & Rimbault[1]: § 566. Irwin[1]: Contra Gamba. Maclean[1]: Gamba.
Copyright © 2000 Edward L. Stauff, all rights reserved.
ContraGamba.html - Last updated 17 May 2008.
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