The pre-classical era is the crucial stage for the development of the symphony. At this stage, the works are plentiful but with no explicit definition and forms. Also, with the various terminologies set by composers, it causes a chaotic situation at the early development of the symphony. Therefore, this thesis focuses on the issues of
symphony development in the pre-classical era and the problems caused by the uncertain terminology.
The thesis consists of four chapters. Chapter One is the discussion of the relevant contexts, including the background of that era, the social status of composers, the development of the orchestra, and the forming of the core of the symphony. At the very beginning, the thesis discusses the transition of the whole society at the early eighteenth-century. Many new concepts affected by the Enlightenment were being produced at that times especially in music and the composition was diversified. What should take into consideration is the social status of the composers at that times. It is because most of them were employed by the aristocrats or bourgeoisies; hence, these composers had produced plenty of works. This affected the organization of the orchestra and the five great symphonies development. Chapter Two defines the various terminologies prevalent at the time and clarifies their conceptual differences. The origin of the term "symphony" and the meaning it represents in the pre-classical era is first presented. Then, it discusses the various terminologies step by step. Chapter Three elaborates the content of the symphony. That is the manipulation of the orchestration and of the integral elements (including movements, musical forms, texture, and harmony). The discussion is made in two areas: these musical pieces entitled "symphony" and those "non-symphony". Chapter Four concludes the discussion of the effects of the pre-classical era as well as its subsequent influences.
Music terminology is extremely important. Not only it represent what music but it also gives the audience the foremost impression as well. Unfortunately, due to the inconsistency of terminology and the unconformity of the orchestration rendered to the prototype symphonies, much misunderstanding resulted. Through the orchestration and the content of works, we perceived the works in pre-classical era would be titled with a variety of terminologies. Also, they made great contribution for the composition improvement and established a good foundation for the orchestra development.