Anacrusis

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Definition

The notes which appear before the first strong beat of a musical phrase, particularly at the start of a piece. An anacrusis sounds as an upbeat.

The well-known song 'Happy Birthday to You' has an anacrusis. The word 'Happy' appears before the first beat of the bar (making this the anacrusis), and the word 'birthday' lands on the bar line. The well-known song 'Away in a Manger' has an anacrusis. The first syllable of 'Away' appears before the first beat of the bar (making this the anacrusis), and the second syllable lands on the bar line.

Anacrusis in musical context


Examples


Help with how to perform an anacrusis

Related concepts