Pronunciation: Ah-nah-KROO-sis

What is an Anacrusis?

An anacrusis is a note or a series of notes found before the beginning of the body of the musical composition. It can involve a phrase or rhythm along with the note, but it is a completely separate component from the body of the music itself.

Key Takeaways

  1. Anacrusis is a note or a series of notes found before the downbeat of a musical composition.
  2. Anacrusis is not part of the body of the composition but is a separate note before the first beat.
  3. It is sometimes called the “upbeat” because it precedes the first downbeat in a bar.

Understanding Anacrusis

Anacrusis comes from the Greek word, “anakrousis,” which means “pushing up.” The term is inspired from the terminology used in poetry, where one of two unstressed syllables are found on a lyrical verse.

Anacrusis is found before the downbeat in a bar, and therefore explains why it’s sometimes called the “upbeat,” or the “pickup.” It prepares your ears for the musical body’s first downbeat.

Related Terms

Cut Time Cut time is a time signature that’s also known as Alle Breve, or cut common time. more

Clef A clef is a musical notation symbol placed at the left side of the beginning of a musical staff. more

Allegro Allegro is a tempo in music that means fast. more

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