The first five pieces of Op. 19 were composed in a single day, February 19, 1911; the sixth followed on June 17.
These very brief and compact pieces are a sort of musical equivalent of aphorisms: the longest of the set, No. 1, encompasses no more than 18 measures. Schoenberg here experiments with the construction of ideas that are complete from the outset and require no development. This method of composition would have a great influence on Schoenberg´s pupil, Anton Webern.