A Gurkha army pipe band visited Aberdeen around 1956 and drew a large and enthusiastic crowd. I remember watching the performance and being a bit dismayed by the apparent butchering of someof our best-loved traditional marches by playing them at 140 beats per minute. I was not alone,because a few letters appeared in the local press expressing the same sentiment, and bemoaning the fact that the local pipe bands of quite a high calibre could never hope to get such a turnout ofspectators. It did occur to me at the time that a simple cure to the speed problem would be to play the march at70 beats per minute but continue to keep up the frenetic pace with their feet. That would be a win-winsituation. The listeners could enjoy (and recognise) the music and the Gurkhas could keep their traditionalpace. But I don't think that ever happened. More is the pity perhaps, because I am sure there were some excellentmusicians in the Gurkha ranks. I should add that I have never heard a Gurkha pipe band play other than traditional Scottish tunes.
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