I want to create scales. I would like to do that to create the most original music as possible.

Now, as a beginner, I don't see why the scales that I studied are composed just by whole steps (W) and half steps (H). I do know the elementary concept of the study of scales: you can build out of them the chords and melodies.

So, my question is: can I build a scale using whole, half and "double" steps (2W)? For instance,

W W H W 2W W H

  • 1
    There seems to be a large misapprehension used here - that music is derived from scale notes. That's so inaccurate, that the question itself becomes invalid. Not sure why, but there are many questions that appear to use the premise that scales are used to make music. It's more likely the other way round!! Obviously anyone can make up any group of notes to produce a scale, but it's then purely academic, not to make original music. Vtc.
    – Tim
    Commented Dec 3, 2022 at 10:25
  • "original music" hardly depends on the baseline scale you choose. Maybe start by learning what the 7 modes are. Commented Dec 4, 2022 at 21:26

3 Answers 3


If you're going to build your own scales, then you can define any rules you want.

Just know, just because your scale contains a double whole-step, chances are it will still be equivalent to some other scale with one or more notes skipped.

For example, here is a scale I just "invented": C D E F G B C. It contains a "double whole-step" from G to B. However, my scale is equivalent to a C major scale with the A avoided.

  • 3
    ...and if someone questions you, blame Aaron! ;) Commented Dec 2, 2022 at 22:12
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    @user1079505 I hereby accept responsibility for all music.
    – Aaron
    Commented Dec 2, 2022 at 22:13
  • @Aaron Then, how can I know that I'm not creating equivalent scales?
    – M.N.Raia
    Commented Dec 2, 2022 at 22:18
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    @M.N.Raia That is a very deep questions that would need an extensive answer. But one way would be to invent your own, unique tuning system. You might want to explore "microtonality" which concerns the use of systems other than the standard 12 chromatic pitches.
    – Aaron
    Commented Dec 2, 2022 at 22:21
  • Well, to be fair, we don't really map pentatonic music to a "classical" 7-pitch scale. Commented Dec 4, 2022 at 21:26

While Aaron's answer is obviously correct, let's look at more details.

If we built your scale starting from C we would get the following notes:


So the span of the scale is not an octave, but a natural 9th. So the next repetition of the scale would start on D:


and then another one on E... only after 6 repetitions, or 7 octaves (which basically covers the typical musical notes range). If you want to be original – you've got it. It might actually work musically very well, but probably you need to invent your own harmony rules for that.

  • 1
    Clever! Seems related to Super Ultra Hyper Mega Meta Scales.
    – Aaron
    Commented Dec 2, 2022 at 22:25
  • Beg your pardon, but by harmonic rules you mean reinvent the way we build the chords (say) from the scale? Because, eventualy, I would like to build chords and melody.
    – M.N.Raia
    Commented Dec 2, 2022 at 22:27
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    @M.N.Raia yes, and more importantly how do you match melody with chords. E.g. imagine you play it on a piano, your right hand is in the part starting from D, your left hand is in the part starting from C. Your right hand plays note F#. What notes would you play with your left hand to match it? It's quite open question, that you can answer only with your ears. But, as Aaron showed, you can build a scale including a 2W distance while still fitting the regular repetition by an octave. Commented Dec 2, 2022 at 22:32
  • That is something very interresting in music. Because, as far as I know, things that sound good to me, my ears; vary through culture, folk, time...
    – M.N.Raia
    Commented Dec 2, 2022 at 22:37
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    @M.N.Raia Actually, even the assumption that music is made of “chords and melody“ is cultural. If you look across the world, at traditional, non-Western musics, and even if you look back in time at Renaissance Western music and earlier, The vast majority of music cultures have used different assumptions. Most music that humans have made across the globe and across time has been monophonic, “melody“ only. Commented Dec 3, 2022 at 0:13

Your scale consists of a major third(what you call a "double step"). While in scales like harmonic and Hungarian minor, minor thirds are passed as an augmented 2nd, major thirds would only exist in a scale because it's the equivalent of another scale, with a degree removed. For example, your scale example is just a Dorian scale with the 5th degree removed. Do whatever you want, just know that you'll simply be avoiding a scale degree.

  • thanks. But, what makes a scale unique? If you want, I could push the question into a more heuristic one: "How can I create a scale that have never been created?"
    – M.N.Raia
    Commented Dec 4, 2022 at 23:31
  • @M.N.Raia I believe that the 7 modes and other modes that stem from them cover essentially every possible single-octave combination with 7 tones. But you aren't limited by the tuning system. Microtones are often used in contemporary classical music. You could also disregard scales entirely and utilize atonality or polytonality.
    – OprenStein
    Commented Dec 5, 2022 at 1:00
  • @M.N.Raia On a different note(no pun intended) the originality of your music has little to do with the scales you use. You could copy paste someone else's piece, transpose it in a weird microtone scale, and it's still far from original. Vice versa is true just as well. You can create a completely original(okay, maybe not completely, but that's the curse of only having 12 tones) piece in C major.
    – OprenStein
    Commented Dec 5, 2022 at 1:06

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