The model for this composition was Beethoven's Septet op. 20, whose Divertimento character and six-part layout were adopted by Schubert, although he merely expanded the instrumentation by adding a second violin. In a letter he numbered his octet amongst the chamber music works with which he desired to blaze a 'path to the great symphony'. It can no longer be ascertained whether the composition was commissioned by Count Ferdinand Troyer, who had a musical salon in Vienna and played the clarinet. We only know that Schubert composed the work at the beginning of 1824, taking only a few weeks to do so and that it was shortly performed at Troyer's afterwards. Today it is one of the most popular larger chamber music works.