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For the calculation of torque in brushless (BL) alternating current motors a local method is proposed, based on the Maxwell stress theory and the filtered contributions due to the harmonics of the magnetic vector potential in the motor air gap. By considering the space fundamental field only, the method can efficiently estimate the average synchronous torque for a variety or motor topologies, including concentrated winding designs. For BL direct current motor analysis a global method is introduced, based on the virtual work principle expressed in terms of energy components in various motor regions. The method leads to simplifications in the average torque calculation and enables the direct identification of the cogging and ripple components. The mathematical procedures have been validated against experiments and other numerical techniques.