A systematic approach for the free vibration analysis of a rotating Timoshenko shaft system subjected to axial forces is presented in this paper. The system has multiple point discontinuities such as elastic supports, rotor masses, and cross-sectional changes. Wave reflection and transmission matrices are employed to characterize the wave motions between the sub-spans of the shaft system. These matrices are combined with the field transfer matrices expressed in wave forms to obtain the characteristic equation in a straight-forward manner. The solutions are exact since effects of attenuating wave components are included in the formulation. The wave propagation-based matrix algebra leads to recursive algorithms which are suitable for computer coding. Three examples are presented to illustrate the numerical procedure.

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