Martin,

To add to the above posts, here are a few other considerations. The film and developer combination you use can affect overall contrast, local contrast and "micro contrast" within any given print. These terms were, at least to me, somewhat nebulous when I started reading some posts in the forums, but are now starting to make more sense.

I had been using PMK Pyro for all of my black & white prints, but found that others said it was too "muddy" in the shadows for contact printing. PMK is a staining developer which surrounds each silver particle with a "fog" of stain and masks grain very well for a smooth image, especially with finer grain films for enlargement. I decided to switch to ABC pyro to see what they were talking about and, yes, it does give a completely different look. The negative is "tack sharp" because it does not have the same staining properties. It shows up more in highlights and does not impart a "general stain" like PMK does. This general stain reduces contrast in shadow areas because the masking effect tends to reduce contrast in local areas of fine detail. ABC shows each grain of silver as if it were etched with a razor or fine stylus, which increases shadow separation.
Another developer, which I have not yet tried, is Pyrocat HD. It has similar properties to ABC pyro, but without the significant loss in film speed (1/2 the listed asa for PMK and 1/4 for ABC) of other pyro developers. It seems to be the best of both worlds, speed, acutance and tonal range are all well balanced, no small feat of chemical juggling.
All of these factors come into play when printing, so try a bit of testing to see where you are with your film and developer combinations. I'm not urging the use of pyro here, only trying to explain what variations are possible on so many levels.

Contrast is often a matter of individual taste in printing. A good print should have the ability to convey overall contrast from light to dark, as well as the subtle textures and tones in any given area of the print. Francesco has posted some excellent scans of prints showing very fine local contrast and examples of this topic. His rendering of snow textures would be one example of local contrast. Take a look at some of his prints and some of the others to see what variations are possible.