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In Part I, the theory of nonconservative linear systems of a finite number of degrees‐of‐freedom is presented. An expression is derived for the response of the system to external harmonic forces in Sec. 3. The effect of small variations in parameters is obtained in Sec. 4. Section 5 is a discussion of the influence additional degree‐of‐freedom. Part II is concerned with numerical procedure for the calculation of characteristic roots and vectors. The results are applied to a numerical example in Part III.