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Motorik is the 4/4 beat often used by, and heavily associated with, krautrock bands. Coined by music journalists, the term is German for "motor skill". The motorik beat was pioneered by Jaki Liebezeit, drummer with German experimental rock band Can.[1][2][3][4] Klaus Dinger of Neu!, another early pioneer of motorik, later called it the "Apache beat".[5] The motorik beat is heard in one section of Kraftwerk's "Autobahn", a song designed to celebrate exactly this experience. It is heard throughout Neu!'s "Hallogallo", from their self-titled album Neu!.

The motorik beat is in 4/4 time, at a moderate tempo. The pattern is repeated each bar throughout the song. A splash or crash cymbal is often hit at the beginning bar of a verse or chorus. The basic pattern is as follows:[6] About this soundPlay 

Staff notation showing the motorik drum beat


The word's use in music journalism may be derived from a punning modification of "motoric", a term long used by music critics to describe relentless ostinato rhythm, or simply from a combination of "motor" and the German "Musik".[original research?] The name may derive from the repetitive yet forward-flowing feel of the rhythm, which has been compared to the experience of driving on a motorway.[7]


The drumming style of Moe Tucker, the drummer in The Velvet Underground, has specifically been characterized by music critic Chris Jones as "proto-motorik."[8]

Apart from the German krautrock bands, the motorik beat has been used by bands from many different genres, most often in psychedelic rock, post-punk, indie rock and contemporary non-German 'krautrock' bands. Notable artists include BEAK>, The War on Drugs, Electrelane, The Rapture, LCD Soundsystem, King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard, Thee Oh Sees, The Modern Lovers, Iggy Pop, Public Image Ltd., Ultravox, Stereolab, Yo La Tengo, Endless Boogie, Idles and Moon Duo.[9]


  1. ^ Adelt, Ulrich (2016). Krautrock: German Music in the Seventies. University of Michigan Press. p. 18. ISBN 978-0-472-05319-3.
  2. ^ Savage, Mark (23 January 2017). "Jaki Liebezeit: Can drummer dies aged 78". BBC News. Retrieved 26 January 2017.
  3. ^ Millions, Kid (23 January 2017). "Love Time: Remembering Can Drummer Jaki Liebezeit's Otherworldly Groove". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 26 January 2017.
  4. ^ Spice, Anton (22 January 2017). "Can drummer Jaki Liebezeit has died aged 78". The Vinyl Factory. Retrieved 26 January 2017.
  5. ^ Kopf, Biba (2002). "Klaus Dinger interview transcript (2001)". The Wire. Retrieved 26 January 2017.
  6. ^ Southall, Nick (2012-06-19). "Sick Mouthy blog: Top ten songs with the Motorik Beat". Sick Mouthy. Retrieved 2018-01-30.
  7. ^ Jurek, Thom. "Neu! — Neu!". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved August 29, 2018.
  8. ^ Chris Jones (21 June 2007). Review of "The Velvet Underground & Nico" for the BBC. Retrieved 20 October 2007.
  9. ^ Arizuno, Lee (May 22, 2009). "Motorikpop: A Secret History Spotified". The Quietus. Retrieved August 29, 2018.