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In December of 1633, Giouan Battista Veraldi was working his way back to Italy. While in Magdeburg, he heard "Foggy Mountain Breakdown" on the Voice of America, and was intrigued by the banjo, which had not yet been developed. Several weeks later, he arrived in Grantville and sought out Atwood Cochran, the host of the program he had heard, as he was determined to acquire a banjo and learn to play it. As Cochran was a music teacher, he had several guitars of various types, and sampled them for Veraldi, who decided that he just had to get an up-time guitar. The two men reached an agreement in which Cochran bought Veraldi's lute for $300, which was the asking price of the one banjo in Grantville that was for sale. In addition, he gave Veraldi a month's worth of lessons and a classical guitar. (He had been making a minor repair when the Ring of Fire fell, and the owner had been left up-time.)
On his first week in Grantville, Veraldi, like many other prominent and semi-prominent down-timers, went to the library to find out what was said about him. Upon learning that he was not mentioned in the books from the future, he resolved that, in the new history, he would be remembered.
He was remembered as one of the driving forces behind the introduction and populatization of the banjo and mature guitar as concert instruments.
The "Coda" to "The Sound of Sweet Strings" is written as excerpts from a 1979 book on the effects Grantville's arrival had on the music of Europe. It mentions that Cochran and Veraldi had been seen playing together when Cochran was "in his eighties", but the story does not indicate when that was, as it does not hint at Cochran's age. However, the Grid gives Cochran's year of birth as 1951, which means he would have been no more than 52.
- ↑ In "The Sound of Sweet Strings: A Serenade in One Movement", it's stated that he "appeared to be in his forties", and he mentions that he had been performing for around 30 years.
- ↑ http://www.tabulatura.com/Mestweb.htm