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Motorik is a term coined by music journalists to describe the 4/4 beat often used by "Krautrock" bands such as Can, Neu! and Kraftwerk (when promoting the official album release of Neu!'s back-catalogue, Klaus Dinger stated he called it the "Apache-beat").[1] The word "Motorik" means "motor skill" in German, although 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". The motorik beat was invented and first used by the band Neu! on their self-titled debut, and the band would subsequently use the beat heavily on many of their songs. When Neu! dissolved, Klaus Dinger would continue using the motorik beat in his new band, La Düsseldorf.

The name perhaps derives from the repetitive yet forward-flowing feel of the rhythm, which has been compared to the experience of driving on a motorway[2] – indeed, the motorik beat is in one section of Kraftwerk's "Autobahn", a song designed to celebrate exactly this experience. While The Velvet Underground's influence on Krautrock is often mentioned, Moe Tucker's drumming style has specifically been characterized as "proto-motorik."[3]

Apart from the krautrock bands, the motorik has also been used by newer bands like Ultravox, Stereolab, Primal Scream, Radiohead, Sonic Youth and Fujiya & Miyagi[4]

The motorik beat is in 4/4 time and of moderate pace. 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:[4] About this sound Play 

Beat 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 +
Hi-hat x x x x x x x x
Snare x x
Kick x x x x x x


  1. ^ Klaus Dinger (2002). Interview with UK music magazine The Wire.
  2. ^ Allmusic: Neu! biography:
  3. ^ Chris Jones (21 June 2007). Review of "The Velvet Underground & Nico" for the BBC. Retrieved 20 October 2007.
  4. ^ a b Sick Mouthy blog: Top ten songs with the Motorik Beat: "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-08-06. Retrieved 2013-08-10.