I think there’s a reason for that and you probably won’t learn about it from theory books. My response will be based completely on my own experience in hearing, playing and analysing various kinds of music, so many people may disagree.
If you look at the scales we use to create chords, they’re usually…
-ionian or its modes
-melodic minor or its modes
-harmonic minor or its modes
-harmonic major or its modes
-halfstep - wholestep or wholestep - halfstep scale
-whole tone scale
-minor 3rd-halfstep or halfstep-minor 3rd scale
These scales have something very important in common. There are never two halfsteps in a row in them. For some reason our ears make us gravitate towards that kind of harmonical tools. Somebody may say there is stuff like bebop scale or double harmonic major. Yes, but they’re used to create melodies, not chords. How often do you hear a Cmaj7(b9) chord? Probably not so often, because maj7-root-b9 create a cluster.
The problem I see with those chords is, any cluster destroys delivered harmonical information. Notes start to sound unimportant to me, chord tones doesn’t sound strong anymore, etc. Jazz players can outline chords playing single note lines, if you try to outline Cmaj7b9 playing b9 on strong parts of the beat or something, probably nobody will actually hear it as Cmaj7b9.
Now back to why certain stuff sounds “tonical”. We don’t hear chords as single entities, they’re all connected to each other, it’s like our brain records harmony and then compares it to what comes next. Basic I, IV, V chords built on C ionian contact half step away in important places, even when certain notes aren’t played together in the same place of the bar.
I - C E G - E note, 3rd is “destroyed” by F note - root of IV chord - that’s why I and IV serve as different functions (tonic vs subdominant)
V - G B D - B note, 3rd is “destroyed” by C note - root of I chord that’s why I and V serve as different functions (tonic vs dominant)
If I play C major and then any chord from C ionian that includes F, I feel like there’s something happening and there’s a function change. What I’m saying may be not so convincing for now, but let’s investigate further.
Ionian, melodic minor, harmonic minor, harmonic major have something else in common. They have perfect 4th and perfect 5th inside. That probably is why we say lydian is a mode of ionian, not the other way around. What happens if we try to build a I, IV, V in lydian?
I - tonic
#IV - tonic again, half diminished chord is like a tritone substitution for maj7#11 chords, most jazz guys redistribute their lydian licks over half diminished chords tritone away.
It’s impossible to build T, S, D in scales with #4 instead of natural 4.
If that’s not convincing enough, altered scale should do. Let’s say we use g altered as base.
I - tonic, G7alt
#IV - tonic again - lydian augmented, Db7#11, tritone sub, I and #IV serve the same function
That’s basically how I hear harmony. Chords are as much defined by what notes they have as what notes they don’t. Still, I’m trying a lot of weird stuff that doesn’t fit into this system, like altering roots of scales to stick b9 into chords with maj7 or to stick maj7 into chords that have min7. G altered scale b1 is Gb ionian and C ionian #1 scale is C# altered in case you’d like to try expermienting with that. I don’t really like ionian too, that’s why I’m looking for secret spices like that. Also, check out my G7#5b15 dominant
I wonder if anyone will survive the whole post.