Beginning of bar 2

  • Why are there numbers above and below the notes?
    Are those two different fingerings?

  • What does the 14 under the half note mean?

Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2 (First two bars): Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2 (First two bars)


2 Answers 2


It's a fingering change. Play it with 1 (thumb) then slide 4 in to hold the note, enabling 1 and 2 for the subsequent bass stave notes.

Alternative fingerings are offered over and under the notes.

All seems rather unnecessarily complicated to me!

  • Any ideas why some numbers are small, some larger?
    – Tim
    Apr 23 at 14:57
  • Or maybe use your 14th finger :) Apr 23 at 14:57
  • @AndyBonner ... which is the same as your fourth toe?
    – phoog
    Apr 23 at 15:05
  • @Tim The small numbers go with the small notes.
    – Peter
    Apr 23 at 16:45

To answer the 1st question - alternative fingerings. Either those above the note or those below it.

I don't think I like either of them! I have a weak 4th finger and would have to work hard to play the 1st bar as notated. It's not a piece I've looked at for decades and can't remember what I did then.

I've looked on ISMLP and have found 6 editions with 5 different fingerings! And the 1st edition doesn't have any fingering at all (see my comment to @Aaron below).

  • 1
    This could use some filling out. Maybe being more explicit about how the alternative fingerings work, why you don't like them, and/or what you'd use instead.
    – Aaron
    Apr 23 at 18:34
  • @Aaron Please note that my view is that it should be up to the performer to decide on their own fingerings rather than relying on some editor. Everyone's hand shape is different, and what falls easily for some performers doesn't work for others.(for example, I sometimes use 2-5 for an octave - Ashkenazy's famously small hands wouldn't have a chance).
    – Peter
    Apr 25 at 9:01

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