We studied the transformation of sensory input as it progresses from vibrissa primary sensor (S1) to motor (M1) cortex. Single-unit activity was obtained from alert adult rats that did not to whisk upon application of punctate, rhythmic stimulation of individual vibrissae. The spike response of units in S1 cortex largely reproduced the shape of the stimulus. In contrast, the spiking output of units in M1 cortex were modulated solely as a sinusoid at the repetition rate of the stimulus for frequencies between 5 and 15 Hz; this range corresponds to that of natural whisking. Thus, the S1 to M1 transformation extracts the fundamental frequency from a spectrally rich stimulus. We discuss our results in terms of a band-pass filter with a center frequency that adapts to the change in stimulation rate.