Ahmet Say

Ahmet Say was born in İstanbul in 1935 into a family of educators of the early Republican period: His father was the mathematics teacher Fazıl Say and his mother was the philosophy teacher Nüzhet Say. He started taking private piano lessons at an early age and upon Ferdi Statzer’s request, he entered the İstanbul Municipality Conservatoire in 1946, studying theory and solfeggio with Demirhan Altuğ, piano with Verda Ün, and harmony with Raşid Abed. He left the conservatoire in 1950 and after high school, he studied journalism and broadcasting in Germany between 1954 and 1960, during which time he took an interest in musicology with the motivation of Kurt Köhler. Once he returned home, he worked as a public educator and amateur folklorist in Bingöl, collecting folk songs, elegies, fairy tales, and sagas, as well as establishing children and youth choirs and folk dances ensembles from 1960 to 1964. He wrote literary works based on his impressions and received awards with his novels and stories: TRT Prize, Sabahattin Ali Prize, Milliyet Novel Competition Prize, and Antalya Film Festival Award. In 1964, he settled in Ankara and worked in newspapers and magazines. Between 1977 and 1983, he published the monthly literary magazine Türkiye Yazıları. He turned to music education and music publications in 1974 and to this day, he has been directing the Müzik Ansiklopedisi Yayınları (Music Encyclopaedia Publications) that he founded, as well as writing music reviews and books on music.


  • Kocakurt (novel), Milliyet Publications, 1976
  • Bingöl Hikâyeleri (stories), Milliyet Publications, 1980
  • İpek Halıya Ters Binen Kedi (epic story), Dayanışma Publications, 1982
  • Die Katze, die sich rüsklings auf den Seidenteppich setzt, Express Verlag, Berlin, 1985
  • Güneşin Savrulduğu Yerden (a re-worked version of the Bingöl Hikâyeleri), Can Publications, 1988
  • Music Encyclopaedia (in Turkish), 4 volumes, Music Encyclopaedia Publications, 1987 (9th edition in 2000)
  • Teaching Music (in Turkish), Music Encyclopaedia Publications, (2nd edition in 1996)
  • History of Music (in Turkish), Music Encyclopaedia Publications, (4th edition in 2000)
  • The Music Makers in Turkey, Music Encyclopaedia Publications, 1995
  • Musical Map of Turkey (in Turkish), Borusan Publications, 1998
  • The Book of Music (in Turkish), Music Encyclopaedia Publications, 2000 (new edition in 2003)
  • Music Dictionary (in Turkish), Music Encyclopaedia Publications, 2002