Progressive Guitar Riff Lesson

Today we will learn some progressive guitar riff lesson, all from Dream Theater, which contain multiple signature changes.

If you want to be skilled in progressive Rock / Metal genre firstly, it’s important to have a good understanding of what odd time signatures are and how they work. Simply put, an odd time signature is any time signature that has an odd number of beats per measure, such as 5/4, 7/8, or 9/8. These time signatures can be challenging to play because they don’t fit neatly into the standard 4/4 time that most rock and pop music is based on.

Lesson 1 – Stream Of Consciousness (5/4 – Main Theme)

The song “Stream of Consciousness” appears on Dream Theater’s 2003 album “Train of Thought.” The song is an instrumental tour de force that features extended solos from each band member, including John Petrucci on guitar, Jordan Rudess on keyboards, and Mike Portnoy on drums.

The Particular part we will learn today is on 5/4 Time Signature. This riff used few times trhough out the song and its the main theme over the song.

Here listen to the riff:

Here is the tab:

Progressive Guitar Riff Lesson
Stream Of The Consciousness – 5/4 Time Signature

Lesson 2 – Stream Of Consciousness (6/4 & 5/4)

Another part from the same song, its changing in every bar – one bar is on 6/4 and the next bar is on 5/4, this way …

Listen to the riff:


Progressive Guitar Riff Lesson
Stream Of Consciousness (6/4 & 5/4)

Lesson 3 : Constant Motion ( 5/8 then 3/4 , 17/16 and 15/16 (!!!!!)

This one is the intro of the song, there are multiple time signature change on this one, starting on 5/8 then 3/4 , 17/16 and 15/16 (!!!!!)

Listen the audio here:

“Constant Motion” was released as the first single from their 2007 album “Systematic Chaos”. The song features complex instrumentation, including rapid-fire guitar riffs, pounding drums, and intricate keyboard and bass work.

The song’s opening riff is instantly recognizable, featuring a driving rhythm that sets the tone for the rest of the song. From there, the song takes the listener on a wild ride, with constantly shifting time signatures, intricate instrumental sections, and a soaring vocal performance by James LaBrie.

Lyrically, the song deals with the idea of being trapped in a cycle of constant motion and feeling like there is no escape. This theme is reflected in the song’s structure, with its relentless pace and constantly shifting rhythms.

Listen to the riff here:


Progressive Guitar Riff Lesson
5/8 then 3/4 , 17/16 and 15/16 (!!!!!)

Lesson 4 – Metropolis (5/8, 6/8, 7/8)

“Metropolis” is a song by the progressive metal band Dream Theater, which appears on their 1992 album “Images and Words.” The song is a multi-part suite that tells a story of a dystopian city ruled by an oppressive government and a shadowy figure known as “the Miracle.”

This Riff is starting with a breakdown 5/8 then constanly change between 6/8 and 7/8

Here is the audio:


Odd Time SIngature
Metropolis (5/8, 6/8, 7/8)

Lesson 5 – Metropolis Last Riff (12/8, 9/8, 5/8, 7/8)

Another riff from Metropolis.

Listen to the audio:

Odd Time Signature
Metropolis Last Riff (12/8, 9/8, 5/8, 7/8)

Also check Odd Time Signature guitar Plucking Lesson here.

There are few other Progressive guitar riff lesson available in our site, check them too : )


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