Name that scale
Question: Why does a half step sound like a whole step in the chromatic scale: Root-whole-whole-half-whole-whole-half-octave note? Why does any other sequence sound dissonant? No one can tell me. Who discovered this pattern - it has to be ancient, like how many there are petals on a daisy. - J.D.

Answer: Let's not mislead our readers: that isn't a chromatic scale. A chromatic scale will always include a chromatic step - a step in which the note name remains the same, such as F, F#. The term "chromatic scale" is normally used to describe the 12-tone scale.

But to make an answer I think I need to make sure I understand you - you're referring to a pattern such as the one formed by

C, D, E, F, G, A, Bb, C


That would be Whole, Whole, Half, Whole, Whole, Half, then a Whole to the octave and we start again.

It would be the same as a major scale but with the 7th degree flatted. If that's what you mean, it is indeed old; it's the Mixolydian mode, one of the so-called Church Modes used in monophonic chant a thousand years ago. It's not quite as old as daisies, but it's old enough.

Though to me the half steps in that do sound like half steps - all half steps sound like half steps, in my opinion - perhaps I'm not interpreting this correctly?

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