I originally though they were (rather bad) fingering suggestions, but then I saw the second bar where the fingering suggestion is 2 4, yet this (51) still shows. What exactly does it mean then when the numbers are in brackets like this? My music theory book does not explain fingering notation at all for some reason, and Wikipedia is not helping here either.

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  • 1
    I would just stop at "(rather bad) fingering suggestions". Somebody ought to tell whoever thought those fingerings were sensible why pianos have sustain pedals!
    – user19146
    Commented Jan 17, 2017 at 12:44
  • @alephzero I am glad I am not the only one who thought that. I have already ignored their previous suggestions and I think I shall continue.
    – user85798
    Commented Jan 17, 2017 at 13:33
  • 2
    You can't use a sustain peddle here ( don't think), else you mung the right hand. That said I could be totally wrong.
    – coteyr
    Commented Jan 17, 2017 at 14:16
  • @coteyr I think sustain is necessary here, though I reapply the pedal at the third bass note.
    – user85798
    Commented Jan 17, 2017 at 14:40
  • This really does not look like fingering to me. It might make some sense for the first bar but not for the second. Are there more examples of this notation in the piece? The next bar doesn't have (50) under the first note by any chance does it?
    – JimM
    Commented Jan 19, 2017 at 15:39

1 Answer 1


In piano this parenthesis with 2 fingering means that you should change finger while keeping the note played.

For example at the second bar you show, you should first use your 5th finger to attack the note, and switch to your 1st finger while keeping the note played, so you can reach the next note (that is quite far) with your 5th finger.


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