Aureo Puerta Carreño makes geometry his muse

The Venezuelan guitarist Aureo Puerta Carreño, 28, created a method to compose music using geometric patterns. 

Musicians and mathematicians have applauded his work. His compositions have been played at guitar festivals in the United States, and in 2020 he was named composer-in- residence by the Miami Symphony Orchestra.

“I compose my music through geometry, and for this, I only use a compass and a ruler,” he said. “It is a system that I invented six years ago, by which a matrix of hexagons becomes my canvas, where I am going to write the notes. In short, I can put music to any object I want.” 

It all started one day when Puerta Carreño was composing and ran out of music paper. He took a piece of graph paper and started scrawling notes on it. As he wrote, he noticed that each scale formed a geometric pattern.

“But the squares on the paper did not help me to place the 12 notes of our musical tonal system, since a square only has four sides,” he said. “One day watching a program about the importance of bees, the hexagon came to mind, and that was the thing that led to the discovery of the geometric pattern on which music is based.”

The composition of music through geometry consists of converting sound into a pattern and vice versa.

To understand the musical composition system, you must first understand that a musical scale is a set of tones.

A clock, for instance, consists of 12 numbers — just like the chromatic scale. The number 12 is the starting point. If we move to the right, joining 12 with any other point, we can see that different geometric figures are formed that represent the different scales. The base scale is the second scale, which forms a hexagon.

This discovery changed the way Puerta Carreño looks at music.

“This pattern resulted in things that I had already seen in my musical training, but from another perspective,” Puerta Carreño said. “It is a way that is much more logical and easier to understand than traditional theory because, with this method, anyone who does not know anything about music can understand the construction of any chord or scale.” 

The road has not been easy for Puerta Carreño.

He came to the United States with a scholarship to study music at the University of Miami in 2013. But back then, his English was very limited, and he had to drop out.

However, his achievements as a musician in Venezuela, which include winning the National Music Award, allowed him to obtain a visa for people who possess extraordinary abilities in the sciences, arts, education, business or athletics and who have been recognized nationally or internationally.

After arriving in Florida, Puerta Carreño started giving private guitar lessons and saving money. Later, he started the Carreño Music Academy in Weston.

 “In the academy, we learn with the traditional method,” said Vicky Beltran, a student. “Professor Puerta has taught us with his method a few times, and it has been fun. If he writes all the notes on the hexagon’s *left side, we know that we are playing a happy song, and if it is on the right side, we are playing a sad song.” 

Three years ago, Puerta Carreño composed “Cancion Para Ti,” a baroque musical piece that has given him international recognition. The piece has been played in classical guitar festivals in the United States and Canada. It has also been downloaded more than 10,000 times on the portal.

“Aureo’s work is wonderful,” said Eduardo Marturet, director and conductor of the Miami Symphony Orchestra. “After listening to some of his musical work, we decided that he had the merits to write for the Miami Symphony Orchestra, and his work has simply amazed us.”

At present, Puerta Carreño is working on the publication of “The Secret Pattern Music,” a four-volume set in which he explains his method of composition. He dreams of expanding the music academy in Weston to Venezuela.

“I want to share a reflection of my grandfather, Inocente Carreño, a famous Venezuelan musician and a significant figure in my life,” he said.

“One day my grandfather asked me, ‘Do you know why my music is successful?’ and I replied: ‘Well, grandpa, because you are a genius.’

“Then he said: ‘No! There are people much smarter than me’… and whispered, ‘because I have many friends and I share my music with them, and they share it with their friends.’

 “At first, I did not understand it. But today, I see that the success of music is to be able to share it with others, and not only music but everything in life.”

This story first appeared in the Miami Herald.

Lorena Cespedes is a Colombian student at Florida International University majoring in journalism. She has a love of traveling, taking pictures and writing about opinion, sports and her culture.