Definition and background:
With the spoken word, ictus indicates the stress or accent on the syllable or foot of a verse. In music, the term ictus is used in conducting to denote the specific point in a visible pattern of beat points that articulates the pulse of the music to the ensemble. This is typically the lowest point in the conducting patterns. stress (usually associated with plainsong) the accent marking the rhythm; the intensity of delivery that distinguishes one note from others
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Wikipedia - Glossary of Musical Terminology
Virginia Tech Multimedia Music Dictionary
ORB -- Medieval Music Glossary