I have greatly appreciated the initial comments on the concertina web so far. Let me say that the audio examples are on there way and will be posted on my web site shortly.
It is true that the concepts presented in the text represent a challenge to previous convention but I would hope that concertinists would view these as methods to amplify their technique rather than to discard previous accomplishments. Many tunes work fine along a single row but there are always places in the tune where the music just doesn’t come out. Rather than struggling to make the fingers do something they don’t feel comfortable doing or simplifying the tune beyond recognition, I would suggest that there are alternative ways to accomplish the phrasing, which preserves the musical intention and rhythm.
It is also true that this method requires study. But we all study our instruments because we want to improve. I would hope this text offers that opportunity. I, like many musicians have had to (painfully) start over from the beginning a number of times. One learns that it is not a step backwards but a move forward through a new door into a new world of possibilities.
I would like to address a few initial concerns expressed in the concertina web. One should not get bogged down on the scales in the beginning. They are offered as a perspective and should be treated as a punching bag on which to occasionally work out. They should not be learned 100% before going on. The reason is that within the framework of a tune, the fingerings on any portion of the scale will change depending on the measure beforehand or afterwards.
As far as the first tunes, they are offered not so much for the tune but rather to learn the process of visualization. The natural tendency is to learn a tune note by note (the melody). However there is a much easier way to learn –it is by visualizing phrases, placing your fingers in the shape that encompasses the entire phrase and only then playing it. This is how pianist learns to play Bach. Much of Bach is just giant fiddle tunes. I would hope that you will approach the first tunes as a method to learn this process of visualization, a process called preparing the hand It is very challenging at first because the brain wants to constantly default to play the melody note by note. It is a lesson I still have to learn over and over for myself but, once learned, makes the efficiency of learning incredibly easier and faster. It also dramatically improves memorization.
Finally I would like to comment on the question of chordal accompaniment. I think chords are great and I certainly addressed chords in my first tutor. However the focus in this text is on phrasing and on emulating the styles of the fiddle. We all know that the fiddle can stand alone and make great dance music. It uses the techniques of double stops and other melodic and bowing rhythmic devises. These can be accomplished with the concertina as well and these techniques are explored in great detail in the text. I saved chords, for the last sections, not because it is more difficult but because one must get the phrasing right first. Also as one progresses to the last chapters, it becomes clear that counterpoint melodies serve the function of harmony just as well as full chords while providing further movement and drive.
I hope these comments are helpful. Please feel free to write me with questions at any time at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will try my best to answer them.