The story of this group closely coincides with the lives of its two founders, Bernard Monerri and Jacques Pina. In 1968, Monerri founded a band and covered Deep Purple, Jimi Hendrix, and John Mayall tracks and gigged in local clubs. Monerri, unhappy with the style of the band (blues), left it. In 1969, Monerri quit his first-year law studies and became a professional musician, joining another local band as their new guitarist. After a residence in a discotheque during the summer of 1969, Monerri left because the rest of the musicians weren't real professionals and didn't share his aims and ambitions. Monerri was by now envisaging the foundation of his own band. Monerri met Jacques Pina in a bar where he was the pianist and the two men became friends. Monerri was struck by their music affinities (notably their mutual enjoyment of composers like Mahler and Bartók) and was also interested in forming a group with a keyboard player.
In 1974, Pina and Monerri hired a small place in the village of Vancia, not far from Lyon, and started rehearsing. The following spring, Monerri and Pina, along with Jean-Jacques Martin who had been called up as a bassist, aimed to start working on a original progressive rock mixing classical jazz and progressive rock influences and decided to elaborate on purely instrumental music led by brass, flute, and violin, but were unable to locate any musician able to handle all of these instruments. But 1974 saw the advent of the ARP-Odyssey synthesizer and its ability to reproduce string, wind, and brass sounds, enabling the three musicians to get the results they wanted. Michel Torelli joined the band as drummer. He had originally played in a circus band and had been presented to the public as some kind of young drum prodigy. He also played in a band doing covers and as a member of the Gilles Pelegrini dance orchestra and had met Monerri at a gig at the Colline club. The two had kept in touch and Torelli was able to step in. Pina then brought a Mellotron to emphasize the symphonic aspect of his music.
The increasing complexity of the music made a second keyboardist a must and Torelli suggested Michel Tardieu. He became a fan of rock music, specially that of Yes, King Crimson, and Van Der Graph Generator, and was perfect for the position. The group then installed itself in a rehearsal room underneath a Lyon music shop before moving to the chateau situated 25 km from Lyon. This house owned by a friend of Dupont's father who also suggested the name Terpandre (a poet and musician in ancient Greece who added a string to the lyre). The group liked the sound of the name and it was taken up immediately. In 1976, the band made some shows in Lyon with the help of Pulsar sound engineer François Isnard. The next year, the band opened several concerts for Catherine Ribeiro. Pina had wanted to further enrich the group's sound with the flute and violin. Through a small ad, the band recruited Patrick Tilleman, who had already played with other bands and musicians, such as Zao and Patrick Forgas.
The Aquarius studio in Switzerland (considered in that period as one of the best in the world) was the place chosen. Pulsar and Spheroe, who had both recorded albums there, recommended it to the band. Terpandre recorded its album in record time (just two weeks), laying down the songs on 24 tracks. The album was mixed and by September, the band was rehearsing again, this time without Tilleman, who had been recruited purely for the album sessions. The band then split up and Tilleman formed his own band, Tillenco, before playing in the re-formation of Zao. Tardieu was contacted by the Vivante brothers who played in the band Vortex and joined immediately. In 1980, after several memorable concerts, the Vivante brothers offered their own label for the pressing of the record (1,000 copies), paid for by Terpandre's producer Serge Mosoni. In 1981, the LP was released to great response in France and Japan.