This middle work in the three late chamber music sonatas was composed in spring 1915, directly after the cello sonata. The innovative combination of sounds – a wind instrument, a stringed instrument, and a plucked instrument – greatly contributes to the impression of restrained melancholy. Debussy himself confirmed it, saying: "It is terribly sad. And I do not know whether one should laugh or cry about it? Perhaps both at the same time?" On another occasion he emphasised the similarities with his own compositional style of the 1890s, remarking of the sonata: "It reminds me of a very old Claude Debussy – the one of the Nocturnes".