The effect of a nonuniform mean flow on the normal modes; the inflow/outflow nonreflecting boundary conditions; and the sound power are studied. The normal modes in an annular duct are computed using a spectral method in combination with a shooting method. The swirl causes force imbalance which couples the acoustic and vortical modes. The acoustic modes are distinguished from the vortical modes by their large pressure and small vorticity content. The mean swirl also produces a Doppler shift in frequency. This results in more counter-spinning modes cut-on at a given frequency than modes spinning with the swirl. Nonreflecting boundary conditions are formulated using the normal mode solutions. The inflow/outflow boundary conditions are implemented in a linearized Euler scheme and validated by computing the propagation of acoustic and vortical waves in a duct for a variety of swirling mean flows. Numerical results show that the evolution of the vortical disturbances is sensitive to the inflow conditions and the details of the wake excitations. All three components of the wake velocity must be considered to correctly compute the wake evolution and the blade upwash. For high frequencies, the acoustic-vortical mode coupling is weak and a conservation equation for the acoustic energy can be derived. Sound power calculations show significant mean flow swirl effects, but mode interference effects are small.