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. Klaus Dinger of Neu!, another early pioneer of motorik, later called it the "Apache beat".
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: Play (help·info)
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. The motorik beat is heard in one section of Kraftwerk's "Autobahn", a song designed to celebrate exactly this experience. It is heard throughout the titular track of Neu!'s Hallogallo.
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 Electrelane, King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard, Thee Oh Sees, The Modern Lovers, Iggy Pop, Public Image Ltd., Ultravox, Stereolab, Yo La Tengo and Moon Duo.
- Adelt, Ulrich (2016). Krautrock: German Music in the Seventies. University of Michigan Press. p. 18. ISBN 978-0-472-05319-3.
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