I'm working with a score that at various times has parts marked "Cello", "Violoncello Basso", and "Violoncello Contrabasso" (though not all are present at the same time), all notated in the bass clef. Are the "Cello" and "Violoncello Basso" likely to be the same instrument, with "Violoncello Contrabasso" the double bass, is there a member of the string section I was unaware of (and not mentioned in Blatter, as far as I can see), or is there some other likely meaning?

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    Can you edit examples into your question? One possibility is that the score is specifying - inconsistently - whether only cellos or both cellos and basses are playing. – user48353 Apr 11 '19 at 23:03
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    I find it very weird that these different terms appear in the same score. I agree with @replete that we need to see the score. – Lars Peter Schultz Apr 11 '19 at 23:52
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    It sounds to me that when it says Cello, then only the cellos play without basses, and when it says Violoncello Basso, it might mean both play the same part. I would have expected at least a comma between the two. It does seem strange that the score should use different terms like that. – Jomiddnz Apr 12 '19 at 1:15
  • As always, please post a sample page or two of the score in question. Knowing the composer(and thus the time period) as well as the publisher will help resolve this. – Carl Witthoft Apr 12 '19 at 12:56

At least for the distinction between cello and violoncello basso there is one possible explanation (assuming roughly baroque era): Violoncello basso may be part of the continuo group (may also be notated as figured bass) as opposed to a partially solistic / melodic part. (So it are the same instruments, but different players.)

Contrabass is notated also in bass clef, but sounding one octave lower, so I see no reason to assume a different instrument.

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