# What is the difference between SHM and HM ?

## Main Question or Discussion Point

What is the difference between Simple Harmonic Motion and Harmonic Motion ?
and How do we define the motion of a system is SHM ?

Thank you !

Related Classical Physics News on Phys.org
Andy Resnick
Sometimes they are used interchangably. SHM is usually taken to mean purely sinusoidal behavior. "harmonic motion" could simply mean regularly repeating behavior, but could consist of multiple frequencies (fundamental, overtones, undertones, additional fundamental excitations, etc)

tiny-tim
Homework Helper
Welcome to PF!

What is the difference between Simple Harmonic Motion and Harmonic Motion ?
Hi linuxpie ! Welcome to PF! See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Complex_harmonic_motion:
Complex harmonic motion occurs when a number of simple harmonic motions are combined.

Chords in music are an example of this phenomenon.
and How do we define the motion of a system is SHM ?
SHM is where the restoring force is proportional to the displacement (or look up wikipedia! ).

What is the difference between Simple Harmonic Motion and Harmonic Motion ?
and How do we define the motion of a system is SHM ?Thank you !
My understanding is that 'harmonic' is synonymous to periodic, and the 'simple' means that the displacement (from the origin) is a sinusodal function of time - i.e., a mathematically simple function. For example x(t)=Acos(wt+$$\phi$$), where A,w and $$\phi$$ are constants. This is equivalent to the definition that tiny-tim gave above.

Thank you all !