I saw this in a piece the other day and was wondering if there is a term for it. The piece begins on a trill that ends on the first beat of a a measure. The rhytm then mimics a upbeat yet there is actually none.

I'm wondering if this is a typical Spanish rhythms or something common to the Romantic era.

For reference here is the sheets.

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  • 2
    I don't understand what you mean. "The rhytm then mimics a upbeat yet there is actually none." -> the four sixteenth notes which start the main motive (b-e'-g'-b') seem an upbeat to me, otherwise I don't see any mimicking.
    – 11684
    Commented Jan 24, 2016 at 17:41
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    Those four semis are the anacrucis. The first three and a half bars seem like an intro. It appears that it could be a march (lots are in 2/4), so the anacrusis gets the marchers ready on time. The pattern is repeated every 2 or 4 bars then.
    – Tim
    Commented Jan 25, 2016 at 7:47
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    I don't see anything unusual. Heck, the last movement of Shostakovich's 5th (I think) begins with a full measure trill. Commented Jan 25, 2016 at 12:16

1 Answer 1


You are apparently confusing the notational peculiarity of an anacrusis right at the beginning of a piece (which is notated using a partial bar, usually without a bar number of its own) with the musical function of the anacrusis, a short leading phrase before its principal reference point, usually the beginning of a bar.

By far most anacruses don't interrupt an ongoing rhythm, the only slight exception being if they immediately follow a fermata. Even then it is unusual to not make the bar have its nominal length. Where that would not leave any room for the anacrusis, it's more common to add a full additional bar (starting with rests) rather than put down a double thin bar after the fermata and let the anacrusis start in a shortened bar right behind that.

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