Although published as a single product in 1923, Schoenberg actually wrote the five constituent pieces of his Op.23 over a four year period between 1920 and 1923. This period was one of compositional experimentation for Schoenberg, during which he was developing his 12-tone serialism. This work was completed before Schoenberg had developed serialism to the point where he would apply it to all 12-tones, so in Op.23, Schoenberg applies serialism to smaller groups of notes.
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