A lifelong aim of Copland's was to provide contemporary music for young performers. He planned a three-volume series with this in mind, but it did not come to fruition. A piece meant for the series was discovered in Copland's files by composer Phillip Ramey, who edited the work in 1977. The title was agreed on by Copland and Ramey, to whom the piece is dedicated.
-Vivian Perlis, 1998