“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/rock band Dream Theater. Though the song is essentially broken up into eight movements on separate tracks, the song itself is 42-minutes 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 contains influences of the classical, metal, folk and progressive genres and weaves through many time signatures, including 4/4, 5/4, 6/8, and 7/8. The song is the longest that Dream Theater has recorded. In order to ease the scrolling through the song, Mike Portnoy gave each movement their own track, splitting the song into eight tracks.
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”.