The work is on a smaller scale than his other late quartets. For the third movement, Beethoven used variation techniques; he also did this in the second movement of his Quartet op. 127. Under the introductory slow chords in the last movement Beethoven wrote in the manuscript "Muß es sein?" (Must it be?) to which he responds, with the faster main theme of the movement, "Es muß sein!" (It must be!). The whole movement is headed "Der schwer gefaßte Entschluß" ("The Difficult Decision").