Multisymplecticity and the variational bicomplex are two subjects which have developed independently. Our main observation is that re-analysis of multisymplectic systems from the view of the variational bicomplex not only is natural but also generates new fundamental ideas about multisymplectic Hamiltonian PDEs. The variational bicomplex provides a natural grading of differential forms according to their base and fibre components, and this structure generates a new relation between the geometry of the base, covariant multisymplectic PDEs and the conservation of symplecticity. Our formulation also suggests a new view of Noether theory for multisymplectic systems, leading to a definition of multimomentum maps that we apply to give a coordinate-free description of multisymplectic relative equilibria. Our principal example is the class of multisymplectic systems on the total exterior algebra bundle over a Riemannian manifold.
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