Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence (song)

Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence (song)

Song infobox
Name = Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence

Artist = Dream Theater
Album = Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence
Released = 2001
track_no = 1
Recorded =
Genre = Progressive metal, Symphonic metal
Length = 42:04
Writer = John Petrucci, Mike Portnoy
Composer = John Petrucci, John Myung, Jordan Rudess, Mike Portnoy
Label = Elektra Records
Producer = Mike Portnoy and John Petrucci
prev = "Disappear"
prev_no = 5
next =
next_no =
"Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence" is the sixth song and title track on the album of the same name, written and performed by progressive metal band Dream Theater. Though the song is essentially broken up into eight movements, the track itself is one 42-minute song and takes up the entire second CD of the album. The genesis of the song came when Dream Theater keyboardist Jordan Rudess wrote what would become the "Overture" section of "Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence", and the band took some different melodies and ideas contained within it and expanded them into chapters of the complete piece. The song explores the stories of six individuals suffering from various mental illnesses. Particularly represented are bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, schizophrenia, autism, post-partum depression, and dissociative identity disorder.

The song also contains musical influences from classical, metal, folk and progressive genres. Some parts of the song are direct nods to some of the band's musical influences. The piece's main theme bears resemblance to the ending of Kansas's "The Wall", and "Solitary Shell" is similar to Peter Gabriel's "Solsbury Hill".

The song is the longest that Dream Theater has recorded. In order to ease the scrolling through the song, Mike Portnoy decided to split it into eight different parts, each with their own distinctive styles. [ [ Mike - MP.FAQ ] ] It has been compared to Rush's "2112",Who|date=August 2007 as Rush is one of Dream Theater's heaviest influences. Also, both songs open with an overture and end with a section entitled "Grand Finale".

The song was played in its entirety on "Score", with the "Octavarium Orchestra" playing "Overture" and backing for the rest of the piece, except for "The Test That Stumped Them All".

Track listing

:*I. Overture – 6:50 (Dream Theater, instrumental):*II. About to Crash – 5:51 (Dream Theater, Petrucci):*III. War Inside My Head – 2:08 (Dream Theater, Portnoy):*IV. The Test That Stumped Them All – 5:03 (Dream Theater, Portnoy):*V. Goodnight Kiss – 6:17 (Dream Theater, Portnoy):*VI. Solitary Shell – 5:48 (Dream Theater, Petrucci):*VII. About to Crash (Reprise) – 4:05 (Dream Theater, Petrucci):*VIII. Losing Time / Grand Finale – 6:01 (Dream Theater, Petrucci)

ong analysis

The lyrics of the song never stay on one particular object, instead describing each of the six people (referred to as the Six Degrees) in turn. Each of these people suffer from a different mental disease, and all six diseases are described in the lyrics. The first movement, Overture, is an instrumental, which means it doesn't describe any of these diseases, and the lyrics for the seventh movement, About To Crash (Reprise), describe the same person from the second movement, About to Crash, but from a different point of view (see analysis below).

I. Overture

This serves mainly as an introduction, encompassing the various musical themes which occur throughout the remaining movements.

II. About to Crash

The lyrics tell of a girl (Degree 1) who presumably has one of the most well known of all mental illnesses: Bipolar disorder. With bipolarity, a patient suffers from manic episodes (e.g. "She can't stop pacing, she never felt so alive") alternating with depressive crashes (e.g. "Then one day, she woke up to find, the perfect girl, had lost her mind"). Bipolar mania often involves heightened energy, flight of ideas ("Her thoughts are racing, set on overdrive."). Manics will often work for hours on end to the point of exhaustion and will often neglect their other duties to attend to whatever goal they have set their minds on at the time. ("They're expecting her, but she's got work to do.")

Bipolar sufferers tend to get worse when the affliction is untreated, and her father/spouse, presumably, has seen this ("I've never seen her get this bad").

Another interpretation is that that man who is watching her work is her husband and that the childhood reference in the 2nd verse is only a flashback to how things got started. This is supported by the change in verb tense as well as the musical change from present to past. Very often, bipolars will experience a manic episode that then proceeds immediately into a depressive episode. ("Then one day, she woke up to find, this perfect girl had lost her mind... once barely taking a break, now she sleeps the day away.")

III. War Inside My Head

This movement tells the story of someone who suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder, as some soldiers do after war. The lyrics show he served in Vietnam ("napalm showers"). The chorus reveals he has flashbacks ("Hearing voices from miles away... Waging a war inside my head"), experiencing instances where he believes that he is still in Vietnam. The second verse implies that he may believe he will have the condition indefinitely ("Trading innocence for permanent psychotic hell"). During the final chorus, it is revealed that his anxiousness have become more pronounced ("Tasting danger with each word I say").

IV. The Test That Stumped Them All

This patient (Degree 3) is suffering from schizophrenia, ("He lives in a world of fiction"). Schizophrenics suffer from a variety of symptoms that are touched on in the lyrics here. Obvious ones include references to delusions and the fact that he "lives in a world of fiction". "Intro tape begins to roll...igniting sonic rage" refers to the fact that schizophrenics are prone to auditory hallucinations... especially command hallucinations that tell the person what to do - even to the point of killing someone or themselves ("To save him from himself").

Unfortunately, there is no "cure" for schizophrenia ("Counseling and therapy providing not a clue") and very little information on its cause (hence the name, "The Test That Stumped Them All"). There is, however, treatment with a variety of anti-psychotic medications ("Pills, red, pink and blue"). Decades ago, there used to be a prevalent method of treating the disorder with shock treatments and this is referenced by the "doctors" suggesting it in the song.

V. Goodnight Kiss

This is a piece about a mother (Degree 4) who has lost her child, in one form or another, and is suffering from post-partum depression ("Are you lonely without Mommy's love?" ... "I'm so lonely without Baby's love"). There is also evidence of the child having been hospitalized at some point, or perhaps died during child birth. The mother believes the loss of her child to be the doctors ' fault ("Those bastard doctors are gonna pay"). A heart monitor, and a baby crying can be heard in the later part of the song, suggesting a medical problem with the baby; the laughing of a doctor also suggests a recurring nightmare that the sufferer has.

Or it could be interpreted that the post-partum depression she is feeling is of the variety that depresses a woman to a point where she can not take care of or nurture her baby. "Are you lonely without mommy's love?" is a perfect example, as it shows that she knows that she is neglecting her child because all that she can do is weep. "You're just a poor girl, afraid of this cruel world, taken away from it all..." can reference either the baby or the mother, as women who have recently given birth sometimes feel very vulnerable and insecure. The part that says, "Goodnight kiss in your nightgown, lavender in your bed..." implies that the child is alive, and also the distraught-sounding mother in the intro whispering that she loves the baby.

VI. Solitary Shell

Referred to as Degree 5, this person is suffering from autism. The lyric tells us that he started off quite normal ("He learned to walk and talk on time, but never cared much to be held"), however, he did develop the tendency autism sufferers have, and that is the withdrawal of social contact (the title, "Solitary Shell", shows that he is quite reclusive). The autism is shown in a series of unexpected bursts ("A Monday-morning lunatic, disturbed from time to time"), and when things perhaps don't go his way ("A temporary, catatonic, madman on occasions"). Yet another autistic symptom is referenced, ("He poured himself onto the page, writing for hours at a time"), and this shows the concentration aspect of the autism. The lyrics end with a plea for social acceptance from a peer or relative ("When will he be let out of his solitary shell"), showing that they are perhaps pleading to a higher power to save the patient.The opening acoustic guitar chords as well as the melody in the verse are reminiscent of Peter Gabriel's song, "Solsbury Hill", revealing one of the band's many influences, Genesis. The song title also bears resemblance to "Solsbury Hill".

VII. About to Crash (Reprise)

This section carries on from where "About to Crash" left off. This time the song is sung from the sufferer's point of view and describes her going through another manic episode ("I'm invincible, despair will never find me"). She then makes the realization that she will come out soon only to have another depressive episode ("And when I fall out of the sky, who'll be standing by"). The lyrics here possibly show the bipolarity is getting better as sufferers tend to become more conscious of the syndrome when they start to feel more like themselves. Pieces from several other movements are included in this and could further describe the character's bipolar and confusion.


Losing Time

The last degree is suffering from dissociative identity disorder, previously called Multiple Personality Disorder. The lyrics tell the listener that she does not have many friends ("She never wears makeup, But no-one would care if she did anyway"). This is probably caused by having her life split among multiple personalities. The results of which is her relative amnesia caused by her inability to keep track of her life among her multiple personalities ("She doesn't recall yesterday, faces seem twisted and strange"). The "Losing Time" title refers to the fact that she isn't living parts of her life due to her dissociative identity disorder, which in turn implies that she is "losing time". The lyrics also reveal the darker side of dissociative identity disorder, in that those who suffer from this disorder often create alternate personalities in order to cope with severe emotional or physical trauma ("She learned to detach from herself, a behavior that kept her alive").

Grand Finale

In this section, the lyrics advise the listener to be more understanding of the people who carry these and similar afflictions, and to accept them as they should be. This section, in which the degrees described by the song are summed up in six lines, is similar to the "Intervals" section in the song "Octavarium":

"Deception of fame" — Degree 3: The Test That Stumped Them All

"Vengeance of war" — Degree 2: War Inside My Head

"Lives torn apart" — Degree 4: Goodnight Kiss

"Losing oneself" — Degree 6: Losing Time

"Spiraling down" — Degree 1: About To Crash (and Reprise)

"Feeling the walls closing in" — Degree 5: Solitary Shell

The Grand Finale ends with a drum fill and gong while the final chord fades over the course of the remaining minute and forty-five seconds. The final chord is the same chord that starts "As I Am", the first song on the next album "Train of Thought", which is a further example of Dream Theater's continuity between albums. The final chord also bears a striking resemblance to the E Major chord played at the end of The Beatles' "A Day in the Life" from the album "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band".


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