These three piano pieces, entitled respectively For a Statesman, For a Canary, For a Rich Aunt
, are probably the best-known of all Berners' early works, though usually more through their reputation than through the music. They were the first of his published music to be publicly performed - by Casella in March 1917 - and were first published in Italy, as well as being used in a variety of contexts later.
Although the pieces are dissonant, they use extensions of a tonal musical language: at the climax of the first piece, the music is suddenly given a key-signature of E flat minor, and a short sequence form the last piece was used by Casella as an illustration in his book on the evolution of the perfect cadence. They use the same kinds of ostinato effects and have a similarly extreme dynamic range.