In theoretical physics and mathematical physics, analytical mechanics, or theoretical mechanics is a collection of closely related alternative formulations of classical mechanics. It was developed by many scientists and mathematicians during the 18th century and onward, after Newtonian mechanics. Since Newtonian mechanics considers vector quantities of motion, particularly accelerations, momenta, forces, of the constituents of the system, an alternative name for the mechanics governed by Newton’s laws and Euler’s laws is vectorial mechanics.

By contrast, analytical mechanics uses scalar properties of motion representing the system as a whole—usually its total kinetic energy and potential energy—not Newton’s vectorial forces of individual particles. A scalar is a quantity, whereas a vector is represented by quantity and direction. The equations of motion are derived from the scalar quantity by some underlying principle about the scalar’s variation.