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fundamental tone[¦fən·də¦ment·əl ′tōn]
(or fundamental), the tone produced by an acoustic system when the system is vibrating at its lowest possible frequency. The pitch of the fundamental tone is determined by the natural vibration frequency of the system; hence, the pitch depends on the nature of the system itself. The term “fundamental tone” is used to designate the tone having the lowest frequency when a complex periodic vibration is expanded in a series of harmonics.