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In poetry and music, and by analogy in other fields, an anacrusis (plural anacruses) is a brief introduction.
In poetry, a set of extrametrical syllables at the beginning of a verse is said to stand in anacrusis (Ancient Greek: ἀνάκρουσις "pushing up"). The technique is seen Old English poetry; in lines of iambic pentameter, the technique applies a variation on the typical pentameter line causing it to appear at first glance as trochaic.
Western standards for musical notation often include the recommendation that when a piece of music begins with an anacrusis, the notation should omit a corresponding number of beats from the final bar in order to keep the length of the entire piece at a whole number of bars.
If anacrusis is present, the first bar after the anacrusis is assigned bar number 1.
- In the song "Happy Birthday to You", the anacrusis forms the Happy and the accent is on the first syllable of Birthday.
- In The Star-Spangled Banner, the word O! in the first line is an anacrusis in both the music and the anapestic meter of the poem:
x / x x / x x / x x / Oh, say, can you see, by the dawn's ear- ly light. . . ˘ ˘ ¯ ˘ ˘ ¯ ˘ ˘ ¯ ˘ . . .
- At the beginning of the Beatles' "Yellow Submarine", "In the" is the anacrusis, while "town" falls on the downbeat.
- McCully, C. B. (1996). English Historical Metrics. Cambridge. p. 35. ISBN 9780521554640.
- Randel, Don Michael, ed. (2003). The Harvard Dictionary of Music (4th ed.). Cambridge: Belknap Press. p. 42. ISBN 0-674-01163-5. Retrieved 1 January 2015.
- An example of this use can be seen at Preece, D. A. (1987). "Good Statistical Practice". The Statistician. D 36: 397.