In 1934 two English investigators (1) published a method for calculating the various modes and frequencies of vibration of a system having several degrees of freedom. Their method, which is based on matrices, greatly shortens the time spent in obtaining numerical solutions in many important problems, notably those with immovable foundations. In this paper is presented a new theorem which (a) makes possible a further reduction of nearly one half in the time required, so that solutions up to 20 deg or more of freedom are now practical and (b) makes it then possible to determine the motion of the system after any initial disturbance in a few minutes, instead of several hours as required by older methods. It is useful in the latter respect whether the modes have been determined by matrix methods, or not.
Although the paper gives simpler proofs than any previously published, knowledge of the matrix theory is not required in using the method. Problems are analyzed by a tabular process, in which an ordinary computing machine helps greatly. Comments based on computing experience are given. A simple numerical example has been given elsewhere (1).