A Cuatro’s Crucial Step Into the Modern Era of Music

Adriaan Moya|TuCuatro February 2016

In recent years we have witnessed more artists adopting the cuatro as a primary instrument in their musical interpretations. As these artists emerge, it becomes more apparent exactly where this instrument is played. We have witnessed many Venezuelan and Colombian artists share their stories be it with a band, going solo or even at the Berkley College of Music with individuals as Carlos Capacho. The cuatro instrument has now found a new home in the composition world thanks to the focus placed by Aruban native Jaderick Croes who is studying music at the Fontys Conservatorium in Tilburg, the Netherlands. We have taken the opportunity to interview this fascinating musician and unravel his professional intentions with the cuatro.

“I composed the song Princess of Ploiesti and dedicated it to two persons in Romania who treated me with great hospitality; this was my way of demonstrating my gratification.”  Jaderick Croes


Name: Jaderick Croes

Location: Tilburg ,The Netherlands

How long have you been playing?

Since I was 6 years old I have been playing cuatro, as in Venezuela it is quite common for music students to start off with this instrument. The cuatro is commonly used in primary school music classes.

What inspired you to play the cuatro?

My mother and my aunt, in our home we always had a cuatro and they knew how to play, so it was they who inspired me to start playing.

What is your favorite song?

There are many, but specifically for the cuatro it would have to be El Diablo Suelto, which is Venezuelan. Also Anette, which is a typical song from Aruba adapted for the cuatro.


Who is  your favorite cuatro artist?

Sometimes they are not folkloric groups, but those who can bring the instrument to another level who have inspired me. Such as doodle Sophia, Mark Maduro, Franklin Falconi who are Aruban cuatristas. Those who are more international who were an inspiration are Cheo Hurtado, Adrián Toro and of course my favorite cuatrista group C4 Trio.

What is the story of your first cuatro?

This was a cuatro given as a gift from my mother. It is difficult to describe the design, but the fret board was linear with multiple colors. It was a cuatro with which I was always playing traditional songs with and accompanying groups whilst playing.

What is your specialty as a cuatro player?

Soloist Antillean songs, interpretations and notations for the cuatro are difficult to come across. If we are able to implement such annotations then as a cuatrista we will be able to connect and communicate much better with the musical world. Also, contemporary music such as pieces from Steve Reich, Phillip Glass and Eric Satie.

Do you have any inspirational words for cuatro students?

The cuatro is very symbolic and is to break though barriers. Many people say that the instrument is limited and this is far from the truth, so there are many barriers in need of breaking. Dedicate your time to perfect your art, find your own sound in terms of the musical instrument that you play.

Jaderick is working on a project to develop a method book and online course for the cuatro in reading music with exercises to help memorize the note positions and learn how to read music.

Currently the method has 2 advantages

  1. Developing sight reading for the cuatro with the introduction of music notations
  2. An introduction to classical music on the cuatro, which will open a new world for the cuatro in the sense of it contribution to the music of the ages of Bach, Beethoven etc. In the further methods, pieces of these composers will be used to supplement the cuatro student. This in turn will open a new world of sound while playing these pieces, a new vibe.

If you want to receive a notification when this material becomes available, drop your email on the following form. We will get sure to inform you whenever the course is accessible and available for our students:

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Jaderick Croes has a fascinating outlook on both music and the cuatro as an instrument. He recognizes the importance of the proper documentation of music for the cuatro and how the future of the instrument is in such initiatives as those of his own. To date, there are very few individuals who have taken it upon themselves to begin to properly create sheet music for the cuatro instrument.

During the 2103 edition of the Siembra del Cuatro (the largest cuatro related event), some of the greatest names in the world of the instrument highlighted the need for documenting musical pieces for the cuatro. During a seminar at the event, cuatro master and icon Cheo Hurtado openly addressed the public to bring attention to this need, as he too was yet another cuatro player who learned not through musical theory, but through traditional methods of teaching how to play the instrument. He referred to musician Miguel Siso who held a competition on compositions for the cuatro in order to motivate musicians to submit their compositions.

Recently there have been efforts made by Martin Trio’s cuatrista, Rafael Martinez, to publish his own sheet music for the cuatro and has been openly sharing them  in order to demonstrate that there are cuatro players who are documenting their compositions.


It is impressive to be able to add the name of Jaderick Croes in the presence of the previously mentioned cuatro icons, as he too has the notion and ability to mobilize a modern movement for the cuatro. A movement where cuatro players and students of the future will turn to appropriate and universal documentation methods of music for what has been considered as being a clandestine instrument. As passionate of music as Jaderick is, as part of his quest to enhance his knowledge and abilities, he is already devising methods with which he can inspire and support the next generation of players though traditional, online & hybrid teaching methods. The world of the cuatro has to continue to recognize efforts such as those being pursued by musicians as Jaderick, as it is individuals such as him who will break the many barriers the cuatro has in before it and join the rest of its family in the world of professionally documented music.


If you want to get information on regarding availability of his online Music Theory course input your email in the following box:

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