Composed in January–February 1875, Šárka is the third symphonic poem in Smetana's six-part cycle Má vlast (My Fatherland). He first published it in a version for piano-duet issued by publisher Urbánek in 1880. The score of the first edition did not appear in print until 1888, four years after Smetana's death.
Owing to the many errors in the first edition, Hugh Macdonald has based this new edition on the autograph score with annotations by Adolf Cech, who conducted the premiere on 17 March 1877. The autograph and print of the piano-duet version served as additional sources.