A piezoelectric motor having a stator in which piezoelectric elements are contained in slots formed in the stator transverse to the desired wave motion. When an electric field is imposed on the elements, deformation of the elements imposes a force perpendicular to the sides of the slot, deforming the stator. Appropriate frequency and phase-shifting of the electric field will produce a wave in the stator and motion in a rotor. In a preferred aspect, the piezoelectric elements are configured so that deformation of the elements in the direction of an imposed electric field, generally referred to as the d.sub.33 direction, is utilized to produce wave motion in the stator. In a further aspect, the elements are compressed into the slots so as to minimize tensile stresses on the elements in use.