Man looking for musical inspiration among sound waves and musical notes

The outstanding Cuban composer Jose (Pepe) Valladares reveals for Tradicionales de los 50, some musical creation clefs. Besides we suggest some on-line resources to start to write your own music from home.

Some studious say about music, when times go on, the melodic wealth becomes poorer, the chords become more repetitive and the variations less brilliant, and the use of the almost infinite resources that the tools of the composition give, they come out unnoticed by an insignificant percent of the new composers who come out in the end.

Two of the epithets won by the music made some years ago up today are homogeneity and preference.

José (Pepe) Valladares
José (Pepe) Valladares

Of course there are reasons and many in which this happens, one of them, is longing to enter so badly in to the dominant trend of tasted recipes and not to risk anything. This along with the lack of the real studies of many composers, the current musical composition prospect becomes worse. But dear reader, be careful, we aren’t stating that for a good composition, you need to graduate from Juilliard Academy or ISA, good examples of self-taught musicians are from Cuba, being exclusive Benny Moré and Sindo Garay cases.

The key of the success of these kinds of hearing musicians was and it’ll be forever in the interest and unconformity before an outcome, in the permanent demand.

We have to “live and breathe music” and of course to have enough intelligence to know and appreciate a good advice given by an expert never giving up the will to learn and better what nature gave as a present.

Tradicionales de los 50 has among its lines, the one Jose (Pepe) Valladares Aguiar, a successful Cuban composer, a modern King Midas who in the 70s and 80s, he made any kind of music a hit coming from his own inspiration. When he was told about the possibility to make him a little survey about today’s issue, he agreed nicely to satisfy our interests.

Seven questions to be asked to him (PV):


1. What do you need to be a successful composer?

PV: Out of hands I’ll tell you that you need to have the musical talent and enough virtue to make songs that last through the years. Second place and not less important in this hectic times, we have to know the market rules.

In this matter I want to share some experiences: one can do a song based on real events or fictitious, the importance is creating an accessible structure to a normal person’s ear, running away from the artificial poses and manners.

A composer should take advantage of the first verse to focus on the subject with something striking…

From there, not dropping the melody or the lyrics, so the one who listens to it, feels part of it, motivated by the theme. Half of the song, a bridge should be created and “drop” the song to the chorus.

Based on this formula, I made my compositions and I reached favourable results in the audience.


2. What comes first, the melody or the lyrics?

PV: Both of a way or the other. For those who fell the need to create, an advice: carry a small tape recorder, cell phone, tablet, good for saving those inspirations and in this way to avoid to be forgotten.


3. Can anyone make music?

Fountain pen writing music
Is the current music uniform and predictable?

PV: The music, itself takes specific studies, but anyone can be inspired and set an idea that a professional musician improves later in more technical details, in fact there are many self-taught composers who have reached the success. To this natural gift, studies are added and the composer prepares himself, the guarantee will be much more solid.

Today there are programs in the market that using computer resources make dilettante and professional musicians can do even orchestrations without the need of instruments or “real” performers, we should thank the technological development in this field.


4. Do you have any advice for amateur composers?

PV: I want to divide this response in two parts, one more spiritual, the one that gives base to taste and elegance when you compose. I would advise three things:

  • Listening to good music and pay attention to its diverse structures, above all in those that have gone through time with success.
  • Knowing grammar. Be good at spelling, in the making of sentences. Read good poetry. Meet people similar to a creating taste and devote time to know, like I said before: the musical technique, study it.
  • Looking always for the originality and not be dragged by modernism.

From a more crafted point of view, the composers know or with time, discover that there are three main terms in the success of any song, just already spoke in the first question briefly:

  • Verse
  • Bridge
  • Chorus

Making a song in which these three components stand out separately and together are coherent, it’ll have a great possibility of success. There are cases in which this structure is changed, that’s to say, it begins with the bridge or the chorus, this will depend on the composer’s taste and his smell.


5. What do you think about the current condition of the Cuban music?

PV: Despite too much time has been lost, there’s a huge desire that our music shines like in the 50s again and beyond.

The sound which every band, group and singer was identified has been lost, with a few brief listening time.

Efforts begin to be made to make those old dreams come true, but is in the hands of many and everybody to recover that lost scepter.

According to popular music, it’s not having the old prestige.


6. Which of your songs have you felt more pleased?

PV: Although my songs are over the 600, “Ni la casa ni yo” has been the song which I have felt more pleased, first with the result of its making, lots of weeks on the first position on the radio and TV stations from our country during the 70s. Second for being the first time to face a microphone in a recording studio and having only 20 minutes for it.

Third because it was worthy to relate a real story of my love life and it worked as a controversy. That’s why this song will be my favorite ever.


7. You have had as singers, the greatest from Cuba and overseas: Beatriz Márquez, Annia Linares, Issac Delgado, Manolito Simonet y su Trabuco, Eliades Ochoa, Song by Four, Marco Antonio Muñiz, Johnny Ray, among others. To you what’s the most important, a good singer or a good song?

PV: A good singer is able to put on top a song limitless. A good song will remain forgotten if it’s not sung by a good singer.

Do you want to experience with that song that’s on your mind? Do you dare to let your musical composition in the hands of the audience?
As you read, there are some resources on line which you can take and perform on the creation ways; we leave you some of the most popular as an amateur level and medium. Notice the list we’re giving you is from programs DAW, from English: Digital Audio Workstation, they’ll be like a canvas which you can “paint” with sounds, besides you can edit, record, mix and master:

  1. Image-Line Fruity Loops
  2. Apple Garageband
  3. Sony Acid
  4. Cockos Reaper




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