The changes in spectra and intensities of the streamwise component of turbulent velocity are calculated in the inflow of a turbine rotor. The flow is initially calculated in the limit when the turbulence is of small scale compared with the rotor diameter. Rapid distortion theory (RDT), Batchelor & Proudman (Q. J. Mech. Appl. Maths, vol. 7 (1), 1954, pp. 83-103) (BP), for small-scale turbulence is combined with the effect of the fluctuating potential flow field on the turbulence caused by the direct interaction of the incident turbulence with the rotor as a sheet of resistance. A second computation is then carried out for turbulence of larger length scale. The results of the calculations are compared with velocity measurements in the inflow of both a commercial wind turbine and a tidal turbine rotor.