The work presented here aims at understanding the performance of phase modulated heteronuclear decoupling sequences such as Cosine Modulation or Two Pulse Phase Modulation. To that end we provide an analytical description of the intrinsic behavior of Cosine Modulation decoupling with respect to radio-frequency-inhomogeneity and the proton-proton dipolar coupling network. We discover through a Modulation Frame average Hamiltonian analysis that best decoupling is obtained under conditions where the heteronuclear interactions are removed but notably where homonuclear couplings are recoupled at a homonuclear Rotary Resonance (HORROR) condition in the Modulation Frame. These conclusions are supported by extensive experimental investigations, and notably through the introduction of proton nutation experiments to characterize spin dynamics in solids under decoupling conditions. The theoretical framework presented in this paper allows the prediction of the optimum parameters for a given set of experimental conditions. (C) 2004 American Institute of Physics.