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Progressive Guitar Riff Lesson

Progressive Guitar Riff Lesson – 5 Dream Theater Riff In Odd Time Signature

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 : )

Odd Time Signature Lesson with tabs

Odd Time Signature – 5 Guitar Plucking Exercise With Tabs

An odd time signature is a musical time signature that does not have a simple whole-number ratio between the number of beats in a measure and the note value that represents one beat. Examples of odd time signatures include 5/4, 7/8, or 11/4,These time signatures can create a complex and irregular rhythmic feel, and are often used in jazz and experimental music. Composers and musicians often use odd time signatures to create a sense of tension and dissonance, and to challenge the listener’s sense of expectation and familiarity. You can start with these odd time guitar plucking exercise.

Some song examples with Odd time signature:

  1. The Count Of Tuscany – Dream Theater : 15/8 and 9/4
  2. Last Goodbye – Circus Maximus : 7/8 & 9/8
  3. Plini – Selenium Forest : 7/4
  4. Frame by frame – King Crimson : 7/4
  5. I hung my head – Sting : 9/8

Example 1: 15/8 and 9/4 count:

“The Count of Tuscany” is a song by the American progressive metal band Dream Theater. It is the opening track on their ninth studio album, “Black Clouds & Silver Linings”. The song is known for its complex and dynamic structure, featuring multiple time signature changes and shifting musical themes. The song is also considered as one of the longest songs in Dream Theater’s catalog, clocking in at over 20 minutes in length. The particula part we learn from this song today is 15/8 and 9/4.

Listen the audio here:

15/8, 9/4 Count

Here is the tab:

Odd Time Signature

Example 2: 7/8 & 9/8 count

This part is from Song “The last goodbye” by Circus Maximus. One of my most favorite band of all time and this song is from my favorite Album Nine (2012). In this part they mostly used 7/8 but in 4th bar only they used 9/8 in a beautiful natural way. I prefer natural way that most progressive bands are miss in these days.

Listen the plucking here:

7/8, 9/8 Count

Here is the tab:

7/8 & 9/8 Count

Example 3: 7/4 count

“Selenium Forest” is a song by Australian instrumental progressive rock/metal musician Plini. The song is from his second studio album “Impressions” released in 2018. It features a complex and intricate guitar work, with a mix of melodic and technical playing. The song showcases Plini’s skill as a guitarist and composer, with a delicate and nuanced approach to both melody and rhythm and has been well received by critics and fans alike and is considered as one of Plini’s standout tracks, praised for its emotional depth and musical virtuosity. The song is also part of a number of playlists of instrumental progressive rock and metal.

This partiucalr part is one of the main theme that used in whole song and its on 7/4 Count.

Listen this particular part here:

7/4 Count

Here is the tab:

7/4 count

Example 4: Another 7/4

“Frame by Frame” is a song by the British progressive rock band King Crimson. It is the opening track on their fifth studio album, “Discipline”, released in 1981 and Most of this song is on 7/4 count and some parts are in 4/4.

Listen the song here:

7/4 Count

Here is the tab:

Odd Time Signature

Example 5: 9/8 Count

“I Hung My Head” is a song written and performed by Sting, and was released on his 1996 album “Mercury Falling”. The song was covered by Johnny Cash and released on his album “American III: Solitary Man” in 2000 which was critically acclaimed. The song was also featured in the movie “The Corruptor” and the TV series “The Sopranos” This is the intro from the song.

Listen the plucking here:

9/8 Count

Here is the tab:

Odd Time Signature

Also check: List Of Long Duration Progressive Rock / Metal Songs with Playlist

Progressive Guitar Riff Lesson – 5 Dream Theater Riff In Odd Time Signature