If a signal (representing acceleration, displacement, sound pressure etc.) is composed of a number of components of frequencies which are all integer multiples of one (fundamental) frequency, these components are said to form a harmonic train. The component at twice the fundamental frequency would be known as the second harmonic, the component at three times the fundamental frequency the third harmonic, and so on. Harmonic response is the periodic response of a vibrating system exhibiting the characteristics of resonance at a frequency that is a multiple of the excitation frequency.

Fundamental, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th and 7th harmonic.

The fundamental frequency of a harmonic tone is usually heard as its pitch, even when there is no energy at that frequency. This reflects the importance of harmonic tones in the experience of hearing, especially in the human voice.

See also: Clipping, Frequency, Fundamental, Harmonic Analysis, Missing Fundamental, Overtone, Subharmonic, Subsynchronous.

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Subjects: Noise & Vibration