Definition and background:
The last beat of any measure, usually a weak beat. It is called the " upbeat " because the conductor always directs it with an upward swing of the baton or hand. This anticipates the first beat of the next measure, the " downbeat ", always directed by a downward swing of the baton or hand. the upward movement of the conductor's baton or hand. the upbeat precedes a strong beat and it is also known as the 'weak' beat. If the rhythm is syncopated, the main accent falls on the upbeat
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Wikipedia - Glossary of Musical Terminology
Virginia Tech Multimedia Music Dictionary
ORB -- Medieval Music Glossary