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Propagation of piezoelectric and elastic surface waves on the basal plane of hexagonal piezoelectric crystals has been investigated theoretically. Variations of the piezoelectric field and the particle displacement with the distance from the surface have been derived and compared with Stoneley's result for nonpiezoelectric crystals. The results are applied to hexagonal CdSe, CdS, and ZnO. For CdSe and CdS, the surface waves are pure Rayleigh modes. However, for ZnO which has relatively large piezoelectric coupling coefficients, the surface waves are found to have the form of a general surface wave defined by Synge. Velocities of surface waves propagating on the basal plane of CdSe, CdS, and ZnO are computed to be 1.470×105, 1.7306×105, and 2.70×105 cm/sec, respectively, which are in good agreement with measured values.