Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence
Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence
Length 42:02
Working title (Unknown)
Release date January 29th, 2002
Lyrics John Petrucci, Mike Portnoy
Music Dream Theater
First live performance
Total live plays
Recorded Beartracks Studios
Other appearances Live at Budokan (War Inside My Head, The Test that Stumped them All, Goodnight Kiss, Solitary Shell), Score Live at Luna Park (War Inside My Head, The Test that Stumped them All)
Previous song Disappear
Next song As I Am

Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence is a 42 minute odyssey split into eight tracks or 'movements', and takes up the entirety of the second disc of their sixth studio album, Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence. It is by far the longest song in Dream Theater's discography, with the second longest song being In the Presence of Enemies at 25:38. Lyrically, it discusses mental health, which could be considered a kind of inner turbulence, owing to the song's title. According to Mike Portnoy, "After it was finished we divided up the sections and John and I split up the sections into six different characters and each of us write about three. Basically I wrote about three and he wrote about three and they're six different people all from very different backgrounds and walks of life, all dealing with the common thread of trying to cope with mental imbalances and things like that." MP.FAQ)


Tracklist Edit

1. Overture (instrumental) 6:50

2. About to Crash (Petrucci) 5:50

3. War Inside my Head (Portnoy) 2:08

4. The Test That Stumped Them All (Portnoy) 5:03

5. Goodnight Kiss (Portnoy) 6:17

6. Solitary Shell (Petrucci) 5:47

7. About to Crash (Reprise) (Petrucci) 4:04

8. Losing Time/Grand Finale (Petrucci) 5:59



The Overture was the first part written for Six Degrees. Mike Portnoy discusses it in the FAQ. "We wrote the overture first and from there we took the themes in the overture that we liked and knew we wanted to expand into full sections." (MP.FAQ)

"We approached the Overture as if we were scoring a movie or writing a piece of classical music. For us as a band, it was a whole new way of writing and recording. Jordan's presence is felt most on the title track because he was the instigator and motivator for most of those sections. We wrote the sections around his keyboard parts since his parts were recorded first. My drumming approach for that was not that of a rock drummer, but rather more like that of an orchestral player. I wanted to avoid playing drumset grooves and focus more on the classical orchestration by doing things like multiple marching snare drum overdubs and bass drum and tom patterns with orchestra cymbals. Once we recorded the Overture, that laid the groundwork for the rest of the piece."

About to CrashEdit

About to Crash is part II of Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence. It appears to be about bipolar disorder, however, it contains lyrical content that could pertain to drug addiction as well. Most of the song is upbeat, however the second half is more melancholy, to reflect the unstable aspext of the character's disorder. The main riff of this song is 7/8, a time signature that occurs at several other points throughout the song. It contains a reprise to Overture at 3:39 and 4:49.

War Inside My HeadEdit

War Inside My Head is part III of Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence. It discusses PTSD. It features backing vocals from Mike Portnoy which were (surprisingly) used pre-recorded in a live performance with Mike Mangini instead of John Petrucci singing them. It's the shortest movement of the song, a fact which they were unaware of while composing the piece.

"It's just the way it came out. We kind of wrote that together with The Test That Stumped Them All, so we wrote those back-to-back. They weren't supposed to be broken up in to specific lengths time wise; they're all just sections of the big piece. We weren't even conscious of the lengths of the individual sections. We were just writing with a vision of the big picture."

The Test that Stumped Them AllEdit

The Test That Stumped Them All is part IV of Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence appears to be about a man with delusions and paranoia, or possibly schizophrenia. It also includes the voices of the parents or other adults making comments such as, "The boy is simply crazy / suffering from delusions". This song also utilises the odd 7/8 time signature.

Goodnight KissEdit

Goodnight Kiss is part V of Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence. It is written about a mother with post-natal depression. The tone of this movement is much more relaxed and ambient than previous parts. The second half of the song hints of disturbed sleep and perhaps a forceful separation or failed operation, emphasised by the lyrics, "Those bastard doctors are gonna pay".

Solitary ShellEdit

Solitary Shell is part VI of Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence. The boy in Solitary Shell has autism (perhaps more specifically, Asperger's syndrome), and shows that the affliction has been going on for his whole life, "As a boy ... as a man". This song also uses the recurring 7/8 time signature. The tone of this section is more upbeat and poppy, with John Petrucci using a double-necked 12-string guitar, which he only used again on "Someone Like Him" from Octavarium.

About to Crash (Reprise)Edit

Part VII of Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence. This is written about the same character as About to Crash, and appears to hint at a recovery, or at least a positive episode, this time written from the character's perspective. It also uses the recurring 7/8 time signature as well as being as upbeat as its predecessor. It contains numerious musical references to the Overture in the instrumental outro.

Losing Time / Grand FinaleEdit

Part VII and final track of Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence. Losing Time was written about a girl with Dissociative Identity Disorder, who is modestly attired and finds it difficult to connect with people. This part is in 3/4, and is very symphonic in tone, with the use of orchestral keyboard sounds. The Grand Finale is a summation of all the previous parts.

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