Upbeat vs. Pickup

Difference between Upbeat and Pickup

Upbeat and pickup are musical terms. These are very different to each other and yet share common definition.


An upbeat can mean an unaccented beat or beats that had occurred before the first beat of the second measure. In simple words, it is one out of the two. It denotes the end of one measure, and the very beginning of the next. Or, an upbeat can also signify or indicate a note or notes’ series coming before the first bar-line of a piece. No wonder, an upbeat can also be called anacrusis very aptly.


Collectively speaking, an anacrusis is the lead-in syllables coming before the first- full measure. This also signifies the first downward beat in a bar of a notes’ series.  In this case, it can also be said as a pickup or pickup beat. A pickup also means a device used to capture guitar’s mechanical vibrations and later, used to record, amplify or broadcast the recorded sound.

Difference between Upbeat and Pickup

In terms of music, both of these don’t differ a lot.  They both are a beats’ series which come before a measure and the beat that precedes a downward beat. However, a pickup is not necessarily the end of a measure and can end before the last bar’s last beat. A pick up, as mentioned can be a device to amplify a guitar or any other electronic string instruments’ voice.