The Cimbasso-Popular in Italian Opera
The cimbasso serves as the low-toned instrument of choice in operas written by Verdi and Puccini, who famously disliked the tuba due to its prominent use by their rival Richard Wagner. The cimbasso is shaped like an elongated bass trombone. Keep an eye out for it if you visit the opera.
There are various explanations of where its name comes from. "basso" is plainly the Italian word for "bass," but "cim" is less clear. Some argue that it comes from "cimba," the name of a boat shaped like a bent elbow; others claim that it comes from "corno in basso" (meaning "low-pitched horn"); while still others point to the word "cinq" (five) in reference to the instrument frequently having five valves.