Overtones are produced by a musical instrument and are higher in frequency than the fundamental. They may or may not coincide with the frequencies of a harmonic series. The overtones define the harmonic spectrum of a sound. The fundamental is the first partial, so the second partial is the first overtone. Overtones are defined as the harmonics above the fundamental, but in common usage they are taken to mean any partials above the fundamental. In most instruments, the higher overtones are lower in volume than the lower overtones.
See subharmonic.« Back to Glossary Index