# partial

A partial is any of the sine waves – simple periodic
waves – of which a complex tone is made up. There is an important
distinction between partial, harmonic,
and overtone. An overtone is any partial
except the fundamental. A harmonic is
a partial that is an integral multiple of the fundamental. The fundamental is known as the *first partia*l whereas harmonics or overtones are called *upper partials*.

**Inharmonicity** is a measure of how far a partial deviates
from the closest ideal harmonic, typically measured in cents (a logarithmic
unit used for musical intervals) for each partial.