By 1837, when this collection was conceived, Schumann´s acquaintance with Clara Wieck had ripened into love. He asked her father´s consent to their marriage, but was refused.
The pieces and the descriptive titles added later reflect Schumann´s changeable moods during this time. Pieces like Warum and In der Nacht are sublime illustrations of Schumann’s fusion of literary and musical ideas; after he had written the latter of these two he detected in the music the fanciful suggestion of a series of episodes from the story of Hero and Leander.
The collection begins with a notable example of Schumann´s predilection for rhythmic ambiguity, and ends on an introspective note in the manner of Eusebius.