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This series of two papers considers piezoelectrically actuated flextensional micromachined ultrasound transducers (PAFMUTs) and consists of theory, fabrication, and experimental parts. The theory presented in this paper is developed for an ultrasound transducer application presented in the second part. In the absence of analytical expressions for the equivalent circuit parameters of a flextensional transducer, it is difficult to calculate its optimal parameters and dimensions and difficult to choose suitable materials. The influence of coupling between flexural and extensional deformation and that of coupling between the structure and the acoustic volume on the dynamic response of piezoelectrically actuated flextensional transducer are analyzed using two analytical methods: classical thin (Kirchhoff) plate theory and Mindlin plate theory. Classical thin plate theory and Mindlin plate theory are applied to derive two-dimensional plate equations for the transducer and to calculate the coupled electromechanical field variables such as mechanical displacement and electrical input impedance. In these methods, the variations across the thickness direction vanish by using the bending moments per unit length or stress resultants. Thus, two-dimensional plate equations for a step-wise laminated circular plate are obtained as well as two different solutions to the corresponding systems. An equivalent circuit of the transducer is also obtained from these solutions.