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A biologically inspired control approach for reducing vibrations in distributed elastic systems has been derived and experimentally verified for narrow-band excitation. The control paradigm approximates natural biological systems for initiating movement, in that a low number of signals are sent from an advanced, centralized controller (analogous to the motor cortex of the brain) and are then distributed by local simple rules to multiple control actuators (analogous to muscle fiber). Both theoretical and experimental investigations of three different local rules were carried out including a stability analysis for reducing beam vibrations. In general the results have demonstrated that the biological control approach has the potential to control multimodal response in distributed elastic systems using an array of many actuators with a reduced order main controller. Thus significant reductions in control system computational complexity have been realized by this approach. ï¿_ï¿_ï¿_ 1995 Acoustical Society of America