A finite element formulation for the dynamic response of gear pairs is proposed. Following an established approach in lumped parameter gear dynamic models, the static solution is used as the excitation in a frequency domain solution of the finite element vibration model. The nonlinear finite element/contact mechanics formulation provides an accurate calculation of the static solution and average mesh stiffness that are used in the dynamic simulation. The frequency domain finite element calculation of dynamic response compares well with numerically integrated (time domain) finite element dynamic results and previously published experimental results. Simulation time with the proposed formulation is two orders of magnitude lower than numerically integrated dynamic results. This formulation admits system level dynamic gearbox response, which may include multiple gear meshes, flexible shafts, rolling element bearings, housing structures, and other deformable components.