I have started studying music theory recently and I stumbled upon the concept of scales.
The way I understand it (please correct me if I am wrong):
It can be difficult sometimes to create a good harmonization between the melody and the rhythm if we include all of the existing 12 notes into a piece. Thus when a composer wants to compose a piece, he generally wishes to select a subset of the 12 existing notes and decides that his piece would mostly include only these notes. Thus the notes that he selects for his piece collectively form a 'scale'.
So basically, if my understanding is correct there can be many varied types of scales that can be formed. They can serve different purposes as each scale would have a very different flavor and mood attached to it.
I was then introduced to the concept of a tonal center: one note of your scale can be emphasized and it would pretty much act as a 'central point' around which the entire piece would seem to revolve about.
Now this was a very intriguing concept. But as I dived deeper into the topic, I got to know that there exist scales that do have a pretty well defined tonal center- such as the major and minor scales and their different modes.
But along with those, (since a scale is just a selection of notes from the existing 12 notes) there can also be scales defined which practically do not have a tonal center- such as the whole-tone scale or the chromatic scale.
One observation I was capable of making was that the major and minor scales are constructed with a combination of whole steps and half steps, i.e. the notes are differently spaced. I think this is one of the features required to have a tonal center.
As for the whole-tone scale or the chromatic scale all the notes are equidistant. I guess it becomes monotonous and our brain is not able to settle on one particular note as the 'home-base'. Or maybe scales with such a symmetric construction cannot have a tonal center. These are just some theories I came up with after some thought and observations, which maybe be completely wrong, and they also lack a logical and concrete explanation backing it.
Hence I thought let's just jump a step back to a much more fundamental question. I was looking for maybe a more informative explanation as to why a scale even has a tonal center. What is the music theory involved behind any scale having or not having a tonal center? If I want to create a new scale for my piece suppose, what must I keep in mind while selecting notes, to make it have a tonal center?
What are some necessary features in a scale's construction for it to have a tonal center? How to look at a scale's construction and comment about if it can have a tonal center or not?
For example: Can the wholetone-halftone scale have a tonal center?
(It is an octatonic scale and constructed as such: W H W H W H W H )
I am very new to the music world, it's been a little more than 6 months now to be precise. Kindly help me with these questions that have been clouding my head since quite a long time now. It would keep me motivated :) .
Thank you in advance!